Yesterday, I posted a broad overview of a WAR in the MIDDLE EAST, as it's PROPHESIED in Psalm 83, Obadiah, Isaiah 17 (and also seen in parts of Jeremiah 49). In giving this summary, I left many questions unanswered:
Why do the Arabs hate Israel? How long has this hatred existed?
How do I know that the Bible names (that are LISTED) fits COUNTRIES such as Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon--and PEOPLES, such as the Palestinians?
If you wish to do further research on this topic, I encourage you to get a copy of Bill Salus' book, "Isralestine." He does a powerful and accurate job of answering those questions. Actually the whole book is an in-depth Bible study. I highly recommend it!
It's not my intent (at this moment) to delve into the history of God's EVERLASTING COVENANTS with Israel, or to lay out the entire Biblical genealogy and history of Israel's ancient enemies--from Ishmael (Abraham's son by the Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar) and Esau (brother of Jacob, later renamed Israel. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils. Later, Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, in order to obtain the blessing of the first son). Other enemy bloodlines trace back to sons of Abraham--through his second wife, Keturah. (The fact can be driven home, by Bible study, that the Arabs have ALWAYS been jealous of the PROMISES of God given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel and David--and many early conflicts existed because of those jealousies.)
In fact, God, Himself, fought against those enemies, and SUPPORTED Israel--for TWO REASONS:
1. His PROMISE and COVENANT was given to Abraham through the SON OF PROMISE--Isaac.
2. The other sons and grandsons of Abraham SHOWED themselves to be AGAINST GOD, as well as against their half-brothers (and in Esau's case--against his own brother).
Yesterday, I showed a SCENARIO, in which a war in the Middle East BEGINS as the result of surrounding Muslim nations--who COUNSEL TOGETHER to "wipe Israel off the face of the map." Psalm 83:2-5. We hear in the news, on a DAILY BASIS, about the continuing TUMULT and RIOTS in the Middle East. Israel's enemies supposedly demand "democracy"--according to our western media. However, "the freedom" these people desire is actually a stronger adherence to their Islamic roots (remember they are Muslim, and to them, Allah is their supreme master). At the SAME TIME as upheavals occur in Middle East nations, hatred for Israel abounds and increases. What we witness is a POWER SHIFT, aligning the proper nations with THAT which FITS the end time prophecies. Therefore, the scene is being "set" for the Word of God to be fulfilled in EVERY LITTLE DETAIL. The current events show us that THE TIME is drawing VERY NEAR. Therefore, we need to KNOW the PROPHECIES--and PAY HEED to the WARNINGS they offer us.
The EXACT sequence of these events are PROBABLE. Israel COULD go after IRAN'S nukes (to destroy a threat to the whole Middle East), or they COULD have a skirmish with Iran's battleships--which are entering the Mediterranean Sea (even as I type this--if the latest news proves true).
Any SPARK could CAUSE the war TO BLOW. Any INCREASED TENSION could CAUSE the tight rubber band TO SNAP. Any MOVEMENT by Israel--to protect and defend its interests--will prompt a MIDDLE EASTERN BLOW UP, one that can easily lead right into the destruction of DAMASCUS in SYRIA. The seething kettle will boil over until all events MOVE FORWARD--ending in an Israeli victory--one in which they REOCCUPY ALL the LAND that's promised to them by God. Obadiah 18-21. Psalm 83:12-18. Jer. 49:17-19. Jer. 49:21-22. Jer. 49:23-27. Isaiah 17:12-14. This is the OVERALL focus of the PROBABLE EVENTS in what's called the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War.
As Israel GAINS POSSESSION of all THE LAND promised to them by God, they'll become a very wealthy and powerful nation. At first, most of the world will NOT want to mess with them. In the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War, Israel possesses an EXCEEDINGLY GREAT army--the IDF. Ezekiel 37:10.
How will the world REACT? If current actions and speeches in the UN are any indicator, other nations, such as Europe, the United States, and possibly Russia, will wag their fingers and spout lily-livered speeches, GIVING VOICE to their outrage, but doing NOTHING about it. For a time, at least.
Perhaps the world will be SHOCKED for a season--but NOT for long. The Psalm 83 War will create THE CLIMATE for a much bigger invasion, this time in a battle called Gog/Magog.
Now, let's factor in ALL the oil and natural gas that Israel will control--once they gain their victory. This will be THE HOOK that will create the climate for a much bigger invasion. Surviving Muslims will be inflamed. Russia will COVET what Israel owns. Hatred will brood, burning deep, soon to manifest in YET ANOTHER Middle Eastern conflict.
However, for a season, Israel will enjoy a brief RESPITE in which they begin to feel SAFE and SECURE. This occurs AFTER the Muslim nations around them--Hamas, Hezbolla, al-Qaeda and the Palestinians--are subdued. The great wall, which now protects Israel from Muslim encroachment, will be pulled down.
I say the RESPITE will be BRIEF, because YET ANOTHER END TIME WAR looms on the near horizon. This WAR will come upon Israel AT A TIME when they dwell SECURELY in their land. (At the present time, they do NOT dwell securely. The protective wall still exists. Clamoring enemies threaten them. They are on HIGH ALERT at ALL times.) But AFTER the enemies AROUND ABOUT them are subdued and defeated (in the Psalm 83 conflict), Israel WILL KNOW a time of SECURITY.
I now TURN TO the INVASION of Israel by the GOG/MAGOG confederacy. Why does THIS COALITION attack? Because these enemies desire to take A PREY--to gather up the "spoils"--to carry away silver and gold, cattle and goods, to take a great spoil. Ezekiel 38:12.
I suggest that AFTER Israel has defeated the surrounding enemies in the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 conflict, they will have gained enormous wealth from those vanquished countries. ADDITIONAL enemies, who come upon Israel in the Gog/Magog Invasion, seek TO RETURN that wealth to MUSLIM COFFERS.
In looking at Ezekiel 38 and 39, I've always wondered WHY nations like Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon are NOT specifically named in the prophecy. The conflict prophesied in Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 shows a powerful reason. They're defeated BEFORE Gog/Magog occurs.
Some Bible teachers place the Gog/Magog attack as happening DURING the seven-year Tribulation, at least 3 and a half years into that time (Mid-Tribulation). Others show the Gog/Magog attack as coming simultaneously with Armageddon (end of Tribulation). EXCEPT--THE DETAILS DO NOT MATCH THOSE TIMES.
(Much later in the coarse of this blog, I hope to provide scripture which LAYS out DETAILS of WARS created by the Antichrist. The Gog/Magog Invasion does NOT dovetail into those details. Neither does the Gog/Magog War dovetail with what's shown about Armageddon.)
In carefully comparing the PROPHECIES, a number of Bible scholars teach that the Gog/Magog Invasion MUST happen PRIOR to the START of the seven-year Tribulation. Gary Stearman, who I see as an accurate Bible teacher, says that he envisions the Gog/Magog Conflict happening AT LEAST 3 1/2 years PRIOR to the Tribulation.
Because AFTER that terrible WAR, Israel will need SEVEN YEARS to BURN the weapons. Gary CANNOT envision Israel being able to cleanse their land AFTER the Antichrist BETRAYS the SEVEN YEAR PEACE TREATY (AFTER the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation). Israel will be FORCED to HIDE from the Antichrist during the LAST 3 1/2 years of Great Tribulation, so HOW can they CONTINUE burn weapons during that terrible time?
I'll MAKE NOTE that there are a few objections to Gary's interpretation. One of them is that--in THE MODEL of the Jewish Wedding ceremony--the Bride (Church) will be in heaven with Jesus for SEVEN years (the "seven days" when the Bride is hidden in the chambers with her Groom).
IS IT POSSIBLE, however--IN THE EVENTS surrounding the appearing of Jesus, the Rapture of the Church, and THE START of the Tribulation--that MORE TIME is involved? There DOES APPEAR to be a period of time BETWEEN the Rapture and the START of the Tribulation. This CAN BE discerned from scripture.
Revelation 4:1-2 offers a picture IN TYPE of the Rapture (already described in my blog "PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS"). The Apostle John gains a view of heaven, and in Rev. 4:4, he sees 24 ELDERS (whose description matches HOW the Church is described). The 24 ELDERS have ALREADY been CROWNED, which means that the Church has ALREADY experienced the JUDGMENT SEAT of Christ (the BEMA, the REWARD STAND). How much time will it take in heaven (on an earthly scale) for the entire Church to receive their crowns?
Apparently, there IS MORE TIME involved than the SEVEN years of the Tribulation. Furthermore, in Rev. 5:7, Jesus (after being found as A MAN worthy) takes a SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL from HIS FATHER'S HAND. The 24 ELDERS, the Church, join in powerful heavenly worship, singing the song of OUR REDEMPTION. After that period of worship, Jesus begins ripping the seals off the scroll--in Revelation 6 (and this ACT is what BEGINS the SEVEN YEARS of the Tribulation).
There's NOTHING in scripture to indicate that as the Rapture occurs, the Tribulation will IMMEDIATELY be started. Instead, there's an UNDISCLOSED amount of time in which the Church stands at the BEMA SEAT of Jesus, for the judgment of works done by faith in Him--for which we will receive crowns.
On earth, during that undisclosed amount of time, the Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War will conclude, Israel will feel safe and secure for a season, the Gog/Magog War will transpire, God will REVEAL HIMSELF in power to Israel (and the world), the prophet Isaiah will appear in Israel (Malachi 4:5--BEFORE the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord), the world (after these terrible Middle Eastern Wars) will beg for "peace and safety", the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel for SEVEN YEARS (while, in heaven, Jesus opens the FIRST SEAL), and then the Tribulation will be STARTED.
This SEEMS to be the POSSIBLE structure. However, I won't be DOGMATIC about it. Remember, that on this side of heaven, we DO look through a glass darkly. 1 Corinthians 13:12. (But I offer these viewpoints to PRAYERFULLY consider.)
THE GOG/MAGOG WAR
I encourage you to read Ezekiel 38 and 39. I'll ONLY offer a quick overview of this invasion, so in order to see the whole picture, you need to read those chapters.
Who are the nations NAMED, who will take part in the Gog/Magog Invasion?
1. Gog, of the LAND of Magog--Russia. And INCLUDED are other RUSSIAN participants:
a. Rosh--another reference to Russia. (This can be etymologically proven by the roots of the ancient languages. And it can also be seen in Biblical genealogies in the descendants of Noah's son, Japheth).
c. Tubal--Tobolsk, a city in southern Russia.
2. Persia--This is Iran (think of the antisemitic Ahmadinejad).
3. Cush--Sudan, Ethiopia and possibly Eritrea (Muslim African nations).
4. Put--Libya, Algeria and Tunisia (With Libya, think of Muammar al-Qaddafi).
5. Gomer--part of Turkey, and possibly Germany and Austria. (My word!--a possible second appearance of a Jew-hating "Hitler"?)
6. Beth-Togarmah--parts of Turkey, Armenia and the Turkish-speaking peoples of Asia Minor. (NOTE: this piece of the PUZZLE just recently fell into its proper place. Turkey switched its allegiance away from the west, and now associates with Muslim allies).
Other peoples and places are mentioned as being involved, somehow, in the Gog/Magog Invasion.
A. "Many people with thee"--Ezekiel 38:6. Assorted "tag-a-longs" who agree with what the confederacy will attempt to do to Israel.
B. Countries with mountains that surround Israel--Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel's own Golan Heights. This is WHERE the enemy armies will FALL when DESTROYED BY GOD with earthquakes, an overflowing rain, hailstones (possibly bombs), fire and brimstone.
There's some debate as to whether the destruction will be a TOTALLY natural calamity or a nuclear holocaust. (It might be a combination of both). I LEAN MORE FAVORABLY toward the NATURAL CATASTROPHE SCENARIO--because this will be a POWERFUL ACT OF GOD as HE defends Israel!
However, I also I see a REASON for the NUCLEAR explanation--because it will take Israel SEVEN MONTHS to bury the dead--WITH a SPECIFICATION that the burial MUST be in a special place where NO "passer-bys" shall go--and no one EXCEPT specially APPOINTED ones will be able to touch any bones--that sounds like nuclear and radioactive to me. Ezekiel 39:12-16. (It may also have something to do with Israel's LAWS about how the dead are handled.)
In whatever way Gog/Magog's DEFEAT happens, Israel will see it as GOD WITH THEM!
C. Sheba and Dedan--Saudi Arabia. Not involved in the Gog/Magog fight--but they will feebly question the invading army--"Are you come to take a spoil?"
D. "The merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof"--this is commonly defined as English traders and commercial people. It might even be a veiled reference to the United States. Again, we see the FEEBLE questioning as the invading coalition attacks--"Have you come to take a spoil?"
(It's easy for me to picture President Obama in this passage, doing exactly that, wagging his finger, trying to look tough, but sounding impotent. If the Gog/Magog Invasion happens as soon as I think it could, the questioning person could indeed be our President!)
The MAJOR FACT about the Gog/Magog Invasion is that the WAR will NOT succeed. GOD HIMSELF WILL INTERVENE FOR HIS PEOPLE, ISRAEL. After that terrible time, the people of Israel will BEGIN turning back to their God, in faith. (See Ezekiel 39:25 to 29)
When God begins to DEAL with His people Israel--in the latter days, THE AGE OF THE CHURCH MUST BE COMPLETE. (See Romans 11:25-27 and Acts 15:14-16.) Therefore, I firmly believe that the FAITHFUL and TRUE CHURCH will be Raptured BEFORE the Gog/Magog War.
I believe we ALREADY see the SIGNS of THAT WAR approaching. We see MANY INDICATIONS that the WARS are ABOUT TO HIT the MIDDLE EAST--because of the POSTURING and the THREATS from Iran, and their mad-man leader, Ahmadinejad. Because of that, I say to the CHURCH--be ALERT and READY--our Lord Jesus can come and lift us into the air, to Himself, at ANY INSTANT--more so now, than ever before!
HOWEVER, we WON'T be here for the final outcomes, because, BY THEN, God will be WORKING with His people, Israel, in FULL FORCE, defending them, keeping His COVENANTS with them, and SANCTIFYING His great name. Ezekiel 36:22-23. Ezekiel 39:21-29.
The RAPTURE of the CHURCH, along with the SHOCK given to the world by MIDDLE EAST HOSTILITIES, will create much UPHEAVAL in the near future. Into that time will ARISE the Antichrist, who will SEEM to have ALL the answers for the tumultuous earth and its REELING population.
Antichrist will answer the RESULTING economic upheaval with his plan for the ONE WORLD FINANCIAL and COMMERCIAL establishment. He will settle NATIONAL differences by his plan for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. He will promise PEACE, and REASSURE the world that a calamity like what just happened in the MIDDLE EAST must never happen again! In offering PEACE, he will make a SEVEN-YEAR treaty with Israel, and settle the conflict surrounding the TEMPLE MOUNT. He will allow Israel to rebuild their temple and reinstate their sacrifices and ceremonies. This STARTS the SEVEN-YEAR tribulation--what the Bible labels as "the great and terrible day of the Lord."
In previous blogs, I've shown EVENTS which are PROPHESIED to happen BEFORE "the great and notable day of the Lord come."
Some END TIME WARS (blood, fire, pillars of smoke, a darkened sun and blood red moon) are a part of the time BEFORE the Tribulation. These include the Psalm 83, Obadiah, parts of Jeremiah 25 and the Isaiah 17 conflicts.
The RAPTURE of the CHURCH will also occur BEFORE the tribulation.
The prophet Elijah will appear to Israel BEFORE the great "day of the Lord" occurs.
The Ezekiel 38 and 39 Invasion will occur (by some interpretations), at the latest, 3 1/2 years BEFORE the START of the tribulation.
As we take a SOBER look at the world of OUR TIME, we can see THE SHADOWS of these things approaching.
And THE CALL of the hour is this: BE READY--FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YOU THINK NOT, JESUS WILL COME--to RAPTURE His CHURCH.
We are also exhorted, when WE SEE these things START to come to pass, then LIFT UP OUR HEADS, because REDEMPTION draws NEAR. I repeat, when we see these things BEGIN to come to pass--then KNOW the Rapture is near, even at the doors! Luke 21:28.
Let us be READY, and REJOICE, because our blessed Savior, the ONE Whom we honor and LOVE, Jesus Christ, is COMING SOON to take us to Himself--and to His Father's house in heaven--where our MANSIONS await.
The WORLD is DESTINED to the most horrible time in its history.
That is NOT our destination! In humble gratitude, let's drop to our knees, giving THANKS, PRAISING the great God we serve--Who through Jesus Christ has SAVED us from the WRATH to come!
Have a most glorious day.
EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS. WE LONG TO SEE YOUR MOST GLORIOUS FACE!