As a quick disclaimer: I have seen your replies and clearly some of you have a heart for God. Others, spend far too much time listening to the doctrines of demons. Know this, unless they block me I will not quit. I write for a world that is filled with people with a heart like mine; one that has learned to err on the side of mercy. Have a great day basking in the love of Jesus Christ our soon coming King.
Now, on with the post.
Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God's plan is, for the last days.
Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Eugene Peterson's “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you.
Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.
Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind?
If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people.
But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God's nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places.
“I will turn you around.”
Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea.
“and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.”
In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history.
At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable?
Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel's prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name.
In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players?
Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you.
Persia – Modern day Iran
Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush.
Put - Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation.
Gomer - Sits squarely in modern day Turkey.
Beth-togarmah - This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves.
There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, “in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you." Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan.
Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them.
Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible.
Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us.
Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, "Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore." 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 😎 Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude.
Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don't see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively.
Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra'el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra'el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely.
“After many days have passed,”
Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years.
Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others.
Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel.
Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.'
“You will come up like a storm,”
Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel's words.
“you will be like a cloud covering the land.” - Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.
“you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” - These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.
Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB "Adonai Elohim says: 'When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder." You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.
“ When that day comes,” - Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.
Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God's hands, and, a part of God's plan.
Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God's wrath upon the earth.
Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.
“thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” -
The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.
Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God's understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.
Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.
“You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”
The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel's conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og's fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.
Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.
Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.
I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world's attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.
And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.
Ezekiel 38:16 ERV...I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.
I was asked by my pastor why I study eschatology (end times events.) Ignoring the negativity of a challenge like this, I find that "end times events" are tied in with almost everything I read in scripture. Ezekiel 38 and 39 is such an event, as it speaks of a horrific situation that may happen at any minute.
Try opening a conversation about what you find in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the eyes of your audience will glaze over and you can watch them begin to look at their watches, wondering if there isn't somewhere else they need to go. There are reasons behind this lack of interest, and they stem from confusion; a lack of understanding; the inability of the speaker to put flesh and blood on the characters; and, the worst part is that there is a veil over the eyes and ears of the hearer so that they cannot comprehend. Along with those factors, there is a multitude of answers as to who the players are and when this event will take place. Ambiguity plays a role in the disinterest because an honest dissertation of an end-times scenario will typically put you in the ballpark, perhaps even provide the audience with the team name, but at this point, I am not sure we specifically say who the main characters are. Furthermore, two simple sentences can inspire books of commentary. I am going to try and condense but still give you an understanding of this prophecy.
An introduction to Ezekiel:
He was a priest, the son of a priest, and he was taken captive into Babylon. Already, you should be thinking, odds are not in his favor. Ezekiel was one of the few that give us precise dates.
According to Dr. John Gill's commentary, chapter 38 gives an account of "an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace after they are settled in it;"
J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, demonstrates some classic old-school thinking as he tells us the theme of Ezekiel 38 is Russia's invasion of Israel. McGee is making his case for Gog to be Russia.
I happen to think McGee's assessment is wrong and we should not be focused on the Russian President Putin. You have to keep in mind what was going on in the world that would have inspired the McGee's particular emphasis on Russia in his commentary. For example, The United States was deeply entrenched in the Korean war; the Vietnam conflict, with the cold war with Russia waiting just around the corner. I too assumed that Russia would be one of the major players (and no doubt they are, but we are trying to think biblically while paying attention to the context.) as we lived with the verified threat of Russian missiles 90 miles off our coast in Cuba - a Russian ally, as children.
The Summarized Bible commentary conveys that “God does not only see those who are now the enemies of His people, but foresees those who will be so in the last days, and lets them know by His Word that He is against them, and will make their movements to serve His own purposes.”
I know, every generation has had those that have said, "we are in the last days," and I would tell you that they were right.
Now how would I come to the understanding that every generation comprehended that we are in the last days?
Daniel chapter 9, spells out a seventy-week decree against Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. The seventieth week of years (7years) has been on hold for over 2000 years. Therefore, we, the church, have been in the last days for over 2000 years.
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled with Holy Spirit, preached to the thousands milling about the streets of Jerusalem that day. An aspect of what Peter said came from Joel chapter 2 which speaks about the time of God's wrath which the seventieth year portrays. However, within that period, people are acting out in the power of the Holy Spirit as the prophets of old did. Peter said this part of Joel's prophecy had been fulfilled in your hearing.
What did he say? We are living in the last days.
Since the last days seems to be very focused on the seven-years of wrath, are we, at the moment, living in the seventieth week? No, and that will not come until the church is removed from the earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
The NASB opens our look into Ezekiel 38 with:
Prophecy Against Gog
Ezekiel 38:1-2 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2) "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him
Note how the passage provided has no appropriate punctuation at the end. That is because the thought continues and we will pursue that shortly. But for the moment let's dissect the verses.
“Son of man,” Is there any question as to whom the Lord is talking? The answer is Ezekiel.
“set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,” Okay, what just happened? Ezekiel was told to prophesy against two entities:
Gog; this person also happens to be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
And, the land of Magog; If Ezekiel is told to prophesy against him, and "him" includes the land, then we should be considering the possibility that this is:
A nation? A people group? A demonic operation that controls a people group? As I try to understand, I turn my attention to my concordances and look up the word Gog.
BDB Definition: Gog = “mountain” - A Reubenite, the son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 5:4); The prophetic prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and Magog (Read Ezekiel 32)
Strong's concordance merely adds Gog, the name of an Israelite.
The KJC keeps us in Ezekiel with one exception: 1 Chronicles 5:1-4 MKJV And the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but since he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, and the genealogy is not to be counted according to the birthright; 2) For Judah prevailed among his brothers, and from him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph's); 3) the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 4) The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei, his son.
The dishonor carried by the family due to Reuben's indiscretion, which excluded them from any rights of birth, surely plays a role in all of this.
The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about Gog:
He is pictured as a great enemy against God's people. Ezekiel 38:9 NASB "You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."
He is from the land of Magog or possibly "from the land of Gog." Gog. i.e., mountain, in reference to the Caucasus mountains, the chief seat of the Scythian people. Note: Rather, "Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal." The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury
The Lord sets Himself against Gog (Eze_38:2). Gog will lead a coalition of nations against God's people who are then dwelling securely in the land of Israel (Eze_38:14-16).
With the addition of the words, God's people who are then dwelling securely in ...Israel. They have turned this so that we are looking at the church and not Israel, which is incorrect.
But God, in fact, will bring Gog forth and will destroy him and his people. Ezekiel 39:1-2; Ezekiel 38:19-23
The Lord spoke about this through other prophets (Eze_38:17-18). Ezekiel 38:17 MKJV So says the Lord Jehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them?
The multitudes of Gog will be buried in the Valley of Hamon Gog, that is, "multitudes of Gog" (Eze_39:11), Ezekiel 39:11 CJB " 'When that day comes, I will give Gog a place there in Isra'el for graves, the Travelers' Valley, east of the sea; and it will block the travelers' passage. There they will bury Gog and all his horde, and they will rename it the Valley of Hamon-Gog [horde of Gog].
The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature informs us that: They are the name of a mixed race dwelling in the extreme north, comprehended by the Greeks under the name of the Scythians; (2.) to the center and representative of their race, i.e. their king (Ezekiel 38:39). Gog comes forth from the distant north (Eze_38:15-23; Eze_39:2), ... And, if you are stickler for history - Interpreters have given very different explanations of the terms Gog and Magog; but they have generally understood them as symbolical expressions for the heathen nations of Asia, or more particularly for the Scythians, a vague knowledge of whom seems to have reached the Jews in Palestine about that period. Thus Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 3) has dropped the Hebrew word Magog, and rendered it by Σκύθαι;
See attachment - Classic Bible Maps, The World as known to the Hebrews
Of the maps, I looked at to better understand this ancient classic version shows me more and divergent details than any other map, as it points out Gog and Magog, and where they were located. I have also provided a link to Wikipedia which continues to fill in the blanks in understanding and prophecy with highly detailed information about the Scythians. Because of the quantity of information found there, which all seems important, I am only going to suggest that the interested pursue that there. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians]
As you read the information, consider where Gog might come from. It may help you to understand more clearly how the Turkish "president" Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might best fill the role of Gog.
Just for the fun of it, I searched the internet to find out if Genghis Khan could have been a Scythian. The Headline read, “Not Just Genghis Khan - Scythians Show Genetic Blending With Europe 2,000 Years Ago.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/not_just_genghis_khan_scythians_show_genetic_blending_europe_2000_years_ago-96314
Here is was I gather so far.
Gog, from the disinherited family line of Reuben, moves North and becomes a nomadic mounted and warring nation known as the Scythians. They ranged into China, Siberia, Egypt, Asia Minor and as far south as the Northern African nations, however, they seem to be centrally located around Turkey and the Caspian Sea. They are heavily influenced and integrated by the surrounding nations such as Persia, Syria, and the Caucasus regions. They conquered Nineveh, the Assyrians, and the Medes. Having relations as violent as Genghis Khan one can assume that slaughter was their general theme. This is the people that God sees as one of Israel's few remaining thorns in the flesh.
"knock and the door will be opened to you." Imagine this unprecedented event. Christians, from all over the world, united physically in congregations, united virtually through technology, united spiritually in the Holy Ghost, praying together with a clear, unified intention: shortening, hastening the Return of the Lord (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:5-13, Luke 18:1-8) Wouldn’t the Lord be quick, in fulfilling their holy prayer? “[…] And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” This is not happening yet, but we can make it happen. SUMMARY (You can freely download the pdf) 1 - Brief history of the Church 2 – God wants men to cooperate his plans 3 – The importance of prayer and the Lord’s prayer 4 – The Last Day 5 – While in the world 6 – Warnings 7 – Avoid misconceptions 8 – An unprecedented event 9 – SOURCES 1 - Brief history of the Church Along the history, many spiritual leaders did not listen to (Matthew 23:9-10) “And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.” Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many false teachings did spread for centuries. Nor it is a surprise that true Christians come to a better understanding of some concepts through centuries, because luckily some of them are able to get rid of the false teachings they have received. Indeed, luckily some listened to Matthew 23:9-10. Moreover, Jesus said (John 16:12): ”I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Thus, an increasing understanding, founded on the Gospels and never contradicting them, is to be expected through history. 2 – God wants men to cooperate his plans Even though God could do everything alone, by not waiting his followers to align their will to His will, still he wants men to decide to cooperate with Him, to proceed in His salvation Plan. For those who knows the Scriptures, it’s not needed to quote the countless times in which God waited for men to turn to Him, and adhere His plan, before making things happen. Because being a loving Father, he doesn’t force His will upon men. 3 – The importance of prayer and the Lord’s prayer Point 2 on cooperation between God and men, is one of the reasons why Jesus stressed so much the importance of prayer. To be short, we only quote some passages, but there are countless ones in the Gospels alone: (Matthew 7:7) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (John 16:24) “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Of course, we need to make prayers aligned with God’s will. But even if something is already in God’s will, it’s really important for us to pray for it, because the Lord don’t want to force his gifts upon us, but want us to desire Him. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any need for any prayer whatsoever. Now, what’s the only prayer that the Lord directly taught us? The Lord’s prayer. Let’s examine some passages: “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” […] “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Now, let’s think about it, by knowing the Scriptures. When and how can the Lord completely fulfill these requests? Could they be fulfilled while we are still on earth? 4 – The Last Day It doesn’t take a leap of imagination, to realize that the Lord’s prayer promises will be fully fulfilled only with the Rapture and His Second Coming. [Even the only apparently not messianic request about the “bread”, is translated somewhere as “the bread of tomorrow”, thus indicating the bread of the Kingdom.] Now, it’s not a purpose of this work to choose which interpretation of the Second Coming is more Scriptural. Whatever it is, pre/post/multi/anti/tribulation,this is not the point here. The point is that only in the Last Day, the Lord will fully fulfill the Lord’s prayer requests. Now, are we aware of this? Are we, most Christians, praying that prayer with full intention and awareness, with the awareness that we are asking the Lord, according to His will, to shorten the days of His coming? It doesn’t seem like this awareness has been fully reached so far, but now the times may be arrived. Now this intention can be shared to Christians all over the earth. And it’s nothing new, it’s something fully Scriptural (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:13), it’s just a better understanding of the power of our prayer in the name of Jesus. We are not predicting the day or the hour, and we’ll never try to do it. There is no needing of knowing the day nor the our, to ask the Lord to come quick, according to His will. How powerful would be this prayer, shouted by all His elects? What if some wise pastors could be able to share this intention to Christians all over the world, and all together we could pray “Come”, and “Deliver us from evil”, with the full understanding that we are asking for the Rapture, instead of passively waiting for it? This would be an unprecedented event in History, since so far most Christians have passively waited for it 5 – While in the world Asking for the rapture, doesn’t cut off any obligation for a true Christian life. Before Jesus returns, we’ll still have the obligation to love everyone, serve other people, improve the society, improve ourself, spread the Gospel. All of these commandments are in the Gospel and are immutable. At the same time, with this prayer, we clarify our intention to God, we tell Him that we are ready, and it is now time for our plans to align with His plans, and that we fully want and responsibly request His return for the elects. 6 – Warnings Unfortunately, there will always be some Christians who don’t really want the Lord to come soon. They are not excited at all about Heaven. Exactly like in these Parables: (Luke 14:15-20) “When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ (Luke 19:14) "But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' (John 12:43) “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” But other Christians who aspire to Heaven, would have no reason to not pray this prayer. In the worst case, it will have no effect. In the best case, how glad we will be, to see the Lord coming quickly for us. 7 – Avoid misconceptions Q: “Does praying the Lord to come quickly mean that we don’t trust His promise that He will come?” A: “Absolutely not. The Lord knew the future. He knew about the prayers from His elects, and that he wouldn’t wait to fulfill them. Exactly as in countless other situations, in which the Lord has waited for men to ask Him for what is good. (Matthew 15:21-28). We are sure that His promise will be fulfilled, but we want to be among the ones that have aligned with His will and asked Him to fulfill it quickly.” Q: “Are we forcing the Lord to do something not in His will? Doesn’t He know the Right Time?” A: “He knows the Right Time, and we don’t know according to which criteria He has decided it. But according to the prayer He taught, when He decided it, part of the weight for the decision, came from considering the prayers of His elects (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:13, Luke 18:1-8). Exactly as in other situations, He gave importance and weight to the will of his disciples and prophets, when aligned to His will” Q: “Are Christians praying this prayer exempt to contribute to society, and to spend their lives serving others until the Lord come?” A: “Absolutely not. A real Christian will follow all Jesus words,not only ones about prayer,respect the laws of his country, and will spend His life helping other people, so that when the Lord will come, he will find him ready.” (Matthew 24:45-51) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Q: “Will shortening the return of the Lord prevent some people from salvation?” A: “First off, remember that there will never be a moment on earth in which everyone will be Christian, before the rapture. It is not written anywhere. On the contrary, it is written about an increasingly diminishing of faith. Moreover, people who haven’t met Christ but are seeking for the Truth in their hearts, and are loving their brothers, will be likely raptured too. Exactly as some other righteous people like Socrates, will be raised in the last day, while evil people who are not seeking for repentance because they don’t have the seed of repentance in their hearts, will be left. Therefore, there is no such risk in shortening the day. Otherwise, the Lord wouldn’t have taught us this prayer.” Q:”What about theological and philosophical implications of this event Why someone is taken and someone else left?” A: “These are not treated here. They will be treated in other works, and some wise pastors will be able to answer this, by following the Scriptures” 8 – An unprecedented event If most Christian living today will share this intention, and pray together for it, this will be an unprecedented even in the history of the world. If the rapture happened centuries ago, it would have likely remained unexplained and not testified everywhere. But nowadays, thanks to technologies and to the Gospel spread everywhere, it will be testified to people of all nations, and everyone will know what happened. Now, our hope is that some wise Christian, who spent their lifes in the hope of Jesus’ Return, will actively spread this prayer and this intention among other pastors and Christians, so that all of us may be reunited under the Lord’s prayer, and pray together, with full intention and understanding and without the usual countless distractions and desires: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread of the Day that is coming. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Maranatha. Our Lord, come!
9 - SOURCES:
By Brother Duke
Here is a study I have been working on.
Woe, Woe, woe.
Revelation uses woes as markers or time stamps. The trumpets, seals and bowls are grouped within the 3 woes. The word Alas is translated from the same word in the Greek that is Woe. I have also noticed the great earthquake is always around the resurrection. There was a great earthquake when Christ was resurrected and there was an earthquake when the two witness were brought back to life.
Revelation 8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
1st woe devil is cast out and tribulation starts.
Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
2nd woe resurrection/rapture. Babylon is judged.
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Revelation 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Revelation 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
Revelation 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Revelation 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Revelation 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Revelation 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Revelation 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Revelation 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Revelation 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held
3rd woe God's wrath
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Revelation 6::17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
“It’s not just that we don’t know our Bible but that we have so fragmented, dissected, and compartmentalized the Bible that we have lost sight of its great overarching story.”
Hugh Whelchel i
Occasionally I ask myself, what motivates me to write. In response, I would have to say it's religious opposition and a deeply seated desire to see the church walking in truth. The idea of walking in truth, in my mind, means a church that is trained appropriately in the Word. I don't see that happening at any of the churches I have been a part of.
An aspect of that opposition recently occurred as a “brother” in Christ, told a friend of mine, that I believe life has to be one-way, mine. Have you read any of my posts? Do I present myself like that? Hardly, I attempt to show God's word as the only basis for truth, and, in a manner that people can understand. I suppose, to some degree, that means adding my commentary to what I write in an effort to promote understanding, but leaving the decision-making process to the reader, as they accept or reject God's word. With that understanding you are not rejecting me, you are denying God's truth and mercy, as you refuse what God's word says.
Elijah, the prophet, bemoaned his situation and cried out that he was alone in Israel.
1 Kings 19:9-10 NASB Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10) He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
And yes, that is the way I feel some days. God's response.
1 Kings 19:18 NASB "Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him."
I realize that I am not alone, but the number of those who are passionate about God are few. I am fortunate to sit with a few of them on a weekly basis.
Having had someone say of me, “he believes it has to be, his way or no way,” is somewhat like a slap in my face, and I can tell you I am highly intolerant of actions like that. So, why would someone say something like that about me? Perhaps it is because I am very passionate about truth and God's word.
Sending everyone to hell at the Great White Throne has nothing to do with truth; it merely demonstrates how adamant this man is about judgment, something we are to leave to Jesus, [especially since ALL judgment has/or will be given to Him.]
The Apostle Paul was not put off by the scholars of the Berean community. In fact, he thought highly of them. This body of believers did their research and found that Torah and Tanakh validated what Paul was saying. Having legitimized Paul's statements they believed. When you consider the limited resources, these men had, our accolades for them should be even more significant.
Let me give you an example of what this opposition to, and the rejection of, the truth looks like.
The man who leads the Monday morning study, once again pointed out that he was an ordained Bible study leader, not a pastor. As the leader, he has just about every week, exclaimed that everyone brought to the Great White Throne judgment is sent to hell. If you are a reasonable student of the Bible you should be asking, is that a correct statement? The answer is NO, but why would you know that?
Because you have read the Word of God, as you should; you looked at the context; compared alternate texts and scenarios, and, like a hungry pet who has, awaited you to come home so they can eat, chewed on and ingested every word so that you could understand the depth and meaning of the Greek words being used and their Hebrew origins. But here is where the problem lays, as statistically, no one does that?
The statistical work I am going to show you were undertaken by Lifeway Research in 2014. Here is an excerpt from Christianity Today.ii
“Some Stats to Consider
Americans read the Bible on occasion—churchgoers a little more. In a recent LifeWay Research study, we learned the following about our Bible reading habits among church attendees. They indicated that they read their Bible as follows:
19% - Every day
26% - A few times a week
14% - Once a week
22% - At least once a month
18% - Rarely or never.
There are a couple of interesting takeaways from this study. Almost 60% of churchgoers open our Bibles at home during the week at least once. And for every person who is reading his/her Bible every day (19%), someone isn’t… at all (18%).”
Do you think, in this condition of apostasy, that the numbers would improve any as time progresses?
I was pondering this idea before pulling up the statistical information. My guess/estimate would have been about 20% of the “church” actually reading their Bibles every day. But even then I could see a problem with that number because I sit with some of these 20% per-centers, and know for a fact that they will not move off their traditional interpretations and understandings regardless of what you show them in scripture. Are you beginning to see a problem? Illiteracy has no option but to run rampant through the church; And, it is not just the church. I just read yesterday, 5/10/2018, that schools have found they are going to have to take down the analog clocks on the schoolhouse walls and replace them with digital clocks because no one can read them.
Let's go back to the significant false teaching of the morning “bible” study – how that everyone coming before the Great White Throne goes to a fiery hell.
The first question is: how does one study the Bible? It seems to me that everyone should know how to do this; in truth, I had to learn how.
Every student should:
Read the text without a premise.
As you read ask, what is this passage supposed to be saying to me?
Do not merely assume that the teacher standing before you, saying things like, “What Paul is saying here,” is the truth. [Here is a heads up. Paul, a former Pharisee, a man who was very skillful at what he did, had no problem speaking to JEWS, about this new life and grace found in Christ. This is the case as Saul/Paul spoke about the Hebrew wording within the Law and the Prophets and pointed out the evidence in those words, which led to an understanding, in those who chose to listen, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah they longed for. Paul made it clear that our acceptance of Yahshua brought about this life and the hope we have come to understand.]
The idea of reading without a premise can be applied to my pastor's sermons since he has a motive and a point to be made. In pushing his motive, he has created a premise and is working to make the scriptures fit his premise. These directed efforts often work in opposition to my understanding of Bible study.
Look at the context.
An example of this applies to what I am going to analyze momentarily – Matthew 25, where we see the sheep and the goats at the throne of judgment. The context surrounding this word picture begins in Matthew 21, when Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on the back of an unridden donkey – the Rolls Royce of the day, and He is perceived as the Messiah Israel hoped for. Unfortunately, He did not do what the disciples, nor the people expected, as He overturned the sellers tables, chairs, and loosed their merchandise where they had been selling, in the court of the Gentiles. And then, Jesus got into a verbal confrontation with the elders and Pharisees. All this activity shook the disciples and prompted them to ask, “when will all these things come to pass, and what will be the sign of your coming as the Messiah.
I am always analyzing the scriptures even as the pastor speaks. I examine the context and what the interlinear Greek or Hebrew dictionary says the words mean. Occasionally, the pastor is preaching in opposition to what the words mean. As a side note: Pastor and I had a bad moment one day, as he challenged me about my intensive focus on end times and the eschatology books of the Bible. In his indictment of me, he said, “Notice how in my sermons, I present the gospel in a manner that brings about change in people.” I try not to overthink the pastor's words that day, but isn't that what the Word of God is supposed to do, change people?
Look for a comparative text.
Many of the Calvary Chapel pastors, like Don Stewart or the late Chuck Smith, used to say, “allow scripture to define scripture.” What does that mean? As I read the Revelation, I see where John, on two occasions, in speaking to the churches, uses the term the Synagogue (Rev 2:9, Rev 3:9.) Why is this significant? Because John, was not writing in code as some would ascribe, he was writing to Jewish converts/followers of Christ. And therefore, spoke in a language they would immediately understand. Greek, of course, was one aspect of this language but the other carried the oral history and word stories from the Old Testament. The evidence for this is rather extensive and is demonstrated in the writings of James (James 2:2) and the Apostle Paul. Read Acts 18. In every city we find Paul entering the local Synagogue and preaching. For over fifteen years Paul preached, almost exclusively, to Jews. It was only after years of abuse at the hands of religious Jews that Paul finally said, and I am taking this message to the Gentiles.
The Apostle John, James, Peter, and Paul focused their attention on the Jewish community. Peter, although he had a brief exchange with the Roman Centurion's family, maintained, as did James and John, a focus on Jews. [Read Paul's account in Galatians 2,] Many of these believed for years that this gospel of Jesus was meant exclusively for Jews. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:10 says,
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” NASB
This passage has clear and definite associations with Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 46:10 among others.
In conjunction with the idea of comparative texts, was the indication that everything, aside from direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, came out of the Torah and Tanakh. Paul's letters; James words on wisdom, and the Revelation that John conveyed, all came from the Old Testament. We can put this idea of comparative texts into action where Revelation speaks of a multi-headed beast with crowns and horns (Revelation 13:1). This imagery is found in multiple locations but primarily in the words of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:7).
Matthew 25:31-45, where we see the sheep and goats, is a comparative text. The words Jesus spoke were in response to questions His Jewish disciples ask him, and those words made sense to a Jewish audience. If you had been a student in Synagogue school you were expected to memorize the Old Testament teachings. Therefore, one might expect that these people were looking for these events to happen.
Try to take in as much of the background wording into consideration as you can.
When I look at Matthew 25:31-45 in the NASB, the segment that speaks of the sheep and goats carries the headline, The Final Judgment. That headline in itself gives me nothing of value except as a reference point. If I were looking for a direct association to the final judgment, there is nothing within these verses that define this explicitly by using that terminology.
Can I find an inference of final judgment in verse 31?
Matthew 25:31 NASB "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
Here you see the Son of Man coming in His glory.
This is the same Jesus that Stephen saw, as he stood before the Jewish council (Acts 7:55-56,) and it is the same Jesus that Daniel saw in Daniel 7:13.
And, He will sit on His glorious throne.
There is a passage in Joel 3:12 that would cause the audience listening to the speaker that day to take note. Joel 3:12 LITV Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For there I will sit to judge all the nations all around.
This passage in Joel can easily be associated with the judgment we are about to see in Matthew 25. These two points alone do not convince me, as we see Jesus coming in Revelation 19 prior to Him being seated for judgment, and, there is no account of Him sitting upon His throne in Revelation 19.
To be honest, I have to stretch my mind a bit to see the final judgment. However, if I look at the next verse, the finality suddenly becomes clearer, especially if I have an understanding of Joel 3:12. [Mat 25:32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations;]
There is only one glorious throne.
Is this the same throne that we see in Revelation? We have to look at Revelation 20:11 and see if there is something here that matches.
Revelation 20:11 NASB Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
A great white throne
Our only references to a white throne come from 1 Kings 10:18 and 2Ch 9:17, and they are effectively the same story
1 Kings 10:18 NASB Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold.
Ezekiel tells us what he saw, Ezekiel 1:26 NASB Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.
lapis lazuli - Sapphire - Clear heavenly blue. Apparently, the color is insignificant.
In 1Kings 10:18 it is clear that this is a great throne, and in Daniel 7:9 Daniel sees the throne as being fiery flames.
Although you don't see this happening in Matthew 25, Revelation 20:7-8 tells us that after the thousand years, Satan is released from his prison and he deceives the nations. Those nations, in turn, surround the city of God in an attempt to kill God and His people. Those gathered are killed in an instant. The next event scripture shows us is the gathering of the nations, or, as Matthew 25 puts it, the dead are brought before this great throne.
Although my methods of sorting out what I read, and disseminating the false teachings I hear, might be different than what you learn in seminary, they work for me. You also just got the added benefit of some insight into a false teaching that seems to enjoy sending all who approach the throne of judgment, to hell. A serious look at scripture will demonstrate that such a teaching is blatantly false and damaging to our understanding of who God is.
iThe Church’s Secret: Biblical Illiteracy in the 21st Century, Hugh Whelchel, writing for the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. March 13, 2017. https://tifwe.org/the-churchs-secret-biblical-illiteracy-in-the-21st-century/
iiBiblical Illiteracy by the Numbers Part 1: The Challenge