by Pastor Kevin E. Johnson
Following our last post on the Ezekiel war scenario as laid out in Ezekiel 38, 39; a dear brother sent me a detailed response that included a lengthy study written by a man with many prestigious degrees behind his name. The gist of that which this gentleman had written was that the ancient lands of Magog, Mescech, Tubal, Togarmah, etc. were ancient adversaries of the Assyrians and appear in their literature as such. The conclusion this man draws is that these ancient lands have no real prophetic significance, but serve as “historic types” with “Gog” being an historic type of the future Antichrist, and the confederacy of nations serving as “historic types” of a confederacy of nations Antichrist will lead.
While I certainly can see the possible double reference factor in that which the Holy Spirit gave to Ezekiel, I also see a future invasion by the leader of Russia, leading a coalition of predominantly Islamic nations against Israel in the “Latter years.” There is much solid scholarship behind this interpretation of these passages in Ezekiel. In a previous installment we showed the geographic, linguistic, and philosophic reasons for identifying the land of Magog with Russia. We will not take the time to reiterate all of this material.
Make no mistake about it, God has future plans, prophetic plans, for Israel and the Jewish people. While it is true they have been temporarily set aside in the great plan of God due to unbelief, the scripture is clear that “all Israel will be saved.” [See Jer. 23:6; Rom. 9:27; 11:26] In the end, there will be a believing remnant who will turn to Christ as Messiah and be saved. Until then, the Holy Spirit is working in and through the Church. His emphasis is on the Church during this dispensation of grace, it will turn again to Israel during the coming Great Tribulation, and then in the future kingdom age, and the perfect age to come beyond that; Israel will finally become all that she was destined to be. However, before any of this there are some very dark days ahead for Israel.
Another great persecution is coming for the Jewish people. Antisemitism is on the rise all over the world right now, and unfortunately this will continue and reach a fever pitch level in the coming Great Tribulation period, especially in the final three and a half years. At the first it appears that the final world dictator will seek to solve the age old Jewish-Palestinian conflict by somehow brokering a peace agreement between the two parties. Seemingly miraculously he will accomplish this and in the process restore to Israel not only her Temple, but Temple worship as well complete with the sacrificial system. The Prophet Daniel describes this,
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. 9:27] This prophecy is contained of course within Daniel’s famous “Seventieth Week” prophecy, which describes not literal “weeks” but weeks of years, equaling therefore a total of 490 years. We explained this in detail in prior posts, but suffice it to say here that much like a time clock during a sporting event, there have been stops and starts along the way. As of this writing there has been a delay of almost 2,000 years to allow for the Church Age. With the signing of the fore mentioned “Covenant”, the clock will again begin ticking, counting down the final seven years of time as we know it. This “Seventieth Week” is the Great Tribulation period. It is from Daniel’s prophecy primarily, although there are other passages as well, where the idea of the Seven-year Tribulation comes from.
I am of the opinion that this climate of seeming peace granted by this “Covenant” will be the time that “Gog” will think his”evil thought” and stage his attack on Israel along with his Islamic allies. This would place the “Gog/Magog” war toward the mid-point of the Tribulation period. Back to Ezekiel 38 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. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of uncalled 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. [Eek. 38:8; 10 – 12]
When Russia will come down is a point of disagreement among Bible expositors. Ezekiel uses the term “Latter years” earlier in his prophecy. This is a fairly wide time-frame that is generally understood among prophecy scholars to refer to the period from the re-birth of Israel in May of 1948 through the Kingdom Age (or Millennium). However, the Prophet narrows this time down for us in the 16th verse when he says, And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. [Eek. 38:16] “Latter days” is a prophetic term generally understood to refer specifically to the Great Tribulation period.
These will be the days when the Antichrist comes to power, and he will come to power on a peace platform. He will broker a pseudo-peace between Israel and the Palestinians, again drafting a seven-year peace agreement between the two factions. Toward the end of the first three and a half years, “Gog” will lead his invasion. This will be exactly the place that the Jewish people will need to be brought to. Why do I say that? Because presently the majority of Israelis are dwelling in the land in unbelief. They are neither, for the most part, Orthodox or Messianic in their belief. Today they are not looking in faith to the God of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. They are still looking for their idea of what Messiah should be. During His earthly ministry, Jesus gave a very interesting prophecy that many read over without grasping its significance. He said,
I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. [John 5:43] First of all this statement of the Lord gets at the heart of Israel’s rejection of Him as their Messiah. They didn’t really know the Father. Secondly, this tells us that since they rejected the true Messiah, they were ripe for the deception of all false messiahs who have come on the scene through the years, and eventually the final false messiah who will arise not long after the rapture of the Church. As believers in Christ and the New Covenant revelation, we know this one who will arise will certainly not be the Jews long awaited messiah, but will in fact be a deceiver, the Antichrist; the antithesis of all the true Messiah stands for.
However, for a time, they will receive this one, only to find out how wrong they were! To the Jews this imposter will be messiah, to the Muslims he will be the return of their long anticipated 12th Imam, Mahdi. This individual will be one and the same. I italicized that last statement for emphasis, because I wanted it to stand out to your attention. Neither group will see him for who he truly is, at least initially.
At his heart he will have no tolerance whatsoever for any religion or any worship not directed toward him. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul revealed this in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, He will brag and oppose everything that is holy or sacred. He will even sit in God’s temple and claim to be God. [CEV] To the New-Age Movement this one will have achieved the ultimate in “Christ-conscience”. This will be the prophesied, “Abomination of desolation” both Daniel and Jesus referred to. There is, by the way, an historical type of this when in 168 B.C. one Antiochus Epiphanies defiled the Temple in Jerusalem by offering a pig on its altar and erecting in its place an altar to Jupiter, and prohibiting all Temple worship for the Jews. This led to the revolt of the Maccabeans, one of the greatest feats of history. When this future Antichrist erects an image to himself in the Temple, and declares himself to be god the Jews will realize that this one they had seen as their messiah was nothing more than an evil imposter. The Muslims, by the way, will reject this individual as Mahdi as they will not tolerate worship directed to any god other than Allah. I am getting ahead of myself however.
Initially, the Antichrist will deceive the masses. Therefore, when “Gog” and his allies launch their invasion of Israel, no nation, it would appear, including the United States; will come to her aid. Let me say at this point that I find the current political climate in this Country extremely interesting from a prophetic perspective. Why do I say this? On the one hand we have a President in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama, who is arguably the most UN-American President we have had in our 236 year history as a republic, while at the very same time, being the most anti-Israel President since Jimmy Carter. I firmly believe his to be a socialist agenda designed to destroy America as we know it. This will position America to be dissolved into some sort of northern confederacy, possibly taking in Canada, The United States, and Mexico. Does such a notion seem far fetched? An international “think tank” known as, “The Club of Rome”, which was formed in 1968 to accelerate the implementation of a New World Order by the year 2000, purposed just such a scenario in the early 1970’s when they proposed that to sustain the rate of population the world would have to be divided into ten regions or kingdoms. (Where have we heard that before?)
I also see President Obama at best to be a “closet” Muslim. If actions speak louder than words, it would seem this is the case.
On the other hand, we have the presumed Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who is a committed and deeply dedicated Mormon. Why is that significant? Because in Mormonism it is believed that man can become a god. In fact, in their brand of theology God Himself is viewed as an highly exalted man. The major heresy of Mormonism can be summed up in its central theological axiom, As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become. In Mormon theology this is known as, the law of Eternal Progression. There are many similarities between Mormonism and Word/Faith theology, but that is another subject.
The point I am trying to make in all of this is that the current political climate in this Country and the world in general seems to poised for the emergence of this final world leader who will attempt to rule the world (and he will come close), and who also will declare himself to be god. Before any of this can occur there must come a “falling away”, or, I believe, the removal of the Christian Church at the rapture. Then this evil one will emerge who will make his infamous “peace deal” with Israel. This will place them in the position of being “at peace”, with no bars or gates. This it seems is when “Gog” will think his evil thought and he and his allies will come down to “take a spoil.” Barely a whimper of protest is heard, let alone any defense forthcoming. That is when God Himself will step to the forefront and stand up for Israel and the Jewish people. God will destroy “Gog” and his allies in Israel. It will be a slaughter of epic proportions, probably much greater than has ever occurred before in the history of the world.
We are given a ring side seat prophetically to this by Ezekiel. We will examine it in some detail next time.