August 9, 2009
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
Ezekiel 38, 39 is the account of a war, a multi-nation confederacy of nations that will come against Israel in the “latter years.” The prophet then lists several nations, all predominantly Islamic, led by Gog; who apparently is the leader of the land of Magog. Most scholars agree that Gog is a term most likely referring to the ruler or leader of Magog, which is understood to correspond to modern day Russia.
I believe that this war is the next event on the prophetic calendar and could occur in the very near future. It is this point, the timing of this war, which I want to explore in this edition of THE WEEKLY WORD. There is much debate about the timing of the war in relation to other known end-time events. Prophecy scholars disagree on when the war will take place in relation to the events of the Great Tribulation. They also disagree on the relation to 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. I want to look at each of the most prominent views and then explore which interpretation has the most biblical warrant.
Some prophecy teachers conclude that the war of Gog and Magog, the Russo-Arab invasion of Israel, will occur during the Great Tribulation, the seven-year treaty period leading up to the battle of Armageddon. However, after many years of careful study, I am convinced that the burden of prophetic evidence points to this war occurring prior to the Antichrist making his seven-year treaty with Israel. In other words, I see it as a pre-tribulation event.
When examining the timing of the war of Gog and Magog, we need to consider three possibilities. The war could take place 1) Prior to Daniel’s seventieth week of years and the seven-year treaty of the Antichrist with Israel or 2) at some point during the seven-year treaty period or 3) at the end of the seven-year treaty period as part of the battle of Armageddon. My reasons for rejecting the second and third time frames are that they would demand that the invading forces attack Israel during the time when the Antichrist is reigning as the false messiah, the world dictator, and while he is committed by his seven-year “covenant” [See Dan. 9:27] to defend Israel against her enemies.
The main reason some prophecy scholars have concluded that the war of Gog and Magog takes place during the seven-year treaty with the Antichrist is because they believe that Ezekiel 38:11, 12 tells us that the prophesied war occurs at a time when Israel appears to be at peace. The prophet declares that Gog, the military leader of Russia, will 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, To take a spoil. [Ezek. 38:11, 12a] Certain scholars have concluded that this description refers to a peaceful time for Israel and that it must occur during the first part of the seven-year defensive treaty with the Antichrist.
There are several problems with such an interpretation. First, Ezekiel does not mention the seven-year treaty or any expectation by Israel that the Antichrist’s kingdom will protect them. Second, Ezekiel’s reference to “dwell safely” and “without walls…neither bars nor gates” refers precisely to Israel’s current military situation, where she is dwelling safely because of her strong armed defense and where her cities and villages have no walls or defensive bars. As we mentioned last time, the prophet had never seen a city without walls, so he was astonished when he saw in a vision, Israel dwelling without walls. Ezekiel lived in a time when every city in the world used huge walls for military defense.
It is a well known fact that Israel relies on swift counterattacks and mobile defenses and therefore does not surround even her West Bank settlements with walls. In this analysis we should realize that Israel’s security fence against suicide bombers is 96 percent an electronic fence with wires and sensors, and only 4 percent is constructed of a concrete barrier to block the vision of Palestinian snipers shooting from the West Bank into Israeli territory.
I believe that the War of Gog and Magog will occur before the seven-year treaty. It will create the preconditions that will allow the Antichrist to consolidate his revived Roman Empire in Europe.
When the devastating war of Gog and Magog is concluded, the Bible states that God will “send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” [Ezek. 39:6 KJV] With the Russo-Islamic armies 85 percent destroyed, [See Ezek. 39:2], the world’s political and military balance of power will be profoundly altered.
I want to explore one more aspect of the Ezekiel 38, 39 war next time. That is the why behind the attack. Please join us then.
The Weekly Word is found in Ezekiel 38:11, 12. Here the Bible says,
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, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. [Ezek. 38:11, 12 KJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson