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In effect, this is where we ended the last post on Ezekiel.

"This is what the Lord GOD says: 'This is what's going to happen on the very day that you begin your invasion: You'll be thinking, making evil plans, and boasting, "I'm going to invade a land comprised of open country that is at rest, its people living confidently, all of whose inhabitants will be living securely, with neither fortification nor bars on their doors. Ezekiel 38:10-11 ISV

Having read this passage on several occasions, I have asked myself the same question many have asked, how can you possibly call Israel a country that is at rest? Are the people living confidently and securely? Dr. David Reagan, writing in the September 2009 LAMPLIGHTER magazine article entitled, The Wars of the End Times, said,

First, there is a condition for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that has not been met. Three times in Ezekiel 38 — in verses 8, 11, and 14 — it states that the war described in that chapter will not occur until the people of Israel are living “securely” in “unwalled villages.” Israel is not living in security today. It is bombarded daily by missiles from Gaza, and it is constantly under the threat of missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is also the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks, a threat that has forced Israel to construct a 400-mile long wall down the center of the country. In short, it is laughable today to even think of the Jewish people of Israel as living “securely” in “unwalled villages.”

I don't know how to explain what Gog says, short of it being in direct opposition to a previous condition. We see that previous condition when we read the words of, as a friend pointed out, Nehemiah the Prophet.

Nehemiah 1:3 NASB They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire."

The walls were broken down, and its gate burned with fire. Is that the end of the story? Obviously not, for Nehemiah led a team that rebuilt those same walls and gates. However, those walls and gates were destroyed once again. So, if Israel is a city without walls, what is one of the primary structures conspicuous in Israeli news? The fence along the Southern border with Gaza. Perhaps then our understanding is much to narrow and restrictive, especially, if we can only see things as Dr. David Reagan does. Maybe we are looking at the small picture while God is concerned with the bigger one. This Gog character views Israel as a people living securely in unwalled cities; all of which is in fulfillment of prophecy, and that, is all that matters.

With Israel looking vulnerable our journey continues, as we find Gog saying,

Ezekiel 38:11-12 NASB … I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, 12) to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.'

Odd, how the majority of Western centered thinking struggles to see Israel as pictured in the statement above, and yet, Gog understands very well the purpose of Israel and why. Get something defined in your thinking; Gog is NOT the Antichrist. In this case, he's more of a hothead who only sees utter destruction as the answer. (By the way, Muslims continually make this cry for a total extermination of those outside of Islam.) The Antichrist, in comparison, is found in Daniel crying out for peace. The logical side of me only sees this cry for peace happening after this war.

Daniel 9:27 NASB "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

Contract, peace treaty or a ceasefire, call it what you may, the effect is the same, as Israel gains a few quick years of peace. And, if you are paying attention, this verse says nothing about him making a peace treaty with Israel.

Daniel, in a vision, had seen a ram with two horns and a shaggy goat with one horn between its eyes. The angel Gabriel came and explained what this vision meant. It is a vision of the end of time; a period that takes about seven years. (I say about as many of these things, things that make it all happen, are happening around us now, and are not a direct part of the seven-years of God's wrath.)

Daniel 8:16-17 NASB And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." 17) So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end."

Many translations read like this: “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.”

The problem I have with this terminology is that it places Ezekiel 38, 39 within the seven-year period when I am not so sure we should perceive it as such. Can Ezekiel's prophecy be something that overlaps into the seven-years? Certainly, and since there will be one crying out for peace (although false,) he – the Antichrist will only be exposed to the world after the church is removed. [You can ascertain this information by a careful study of 2Thessalonians 2, particularly verse 8.]

Daniel 8:20 NASB "The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.

We have already seen the advent of the kings of Media and Persia, as they overthrew and succeeded Nebuchadnezzar's reign.

Daniel 8:21 NASB "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

This was Alexander the Great.

Daniel 8:22 ERV That horn broke off and four horns grew in its place. The four horns are four kingdoms. Those four kingdoms will come from the nation of the first king, but they will not be as strong as the first king.

After Alexander’s death, in the prime of life and in the height of his conquests, his brother and two sons were all murdered; and the kingdom was divided among four of his generals: (1) Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon; (2) Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; (3) Ptolemy, who had Egypt; and (4) Cassander, who had Greece." The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

This is just as Daniel described when he detailed the dream of a statue with a head of gold.

  • Nebuchadnezzar was identified as the head of gold;

  • Media and Persia were the chest and arms made of silver;

  • its stomach and thighs of bronze were the Grecian empire,

  • The legs and feet primarily being made of Iron, are empire Seleucus and Ptolemy and what becomes of those two empires. This is detailed in Daniel 11.

    Contrary to what many believe, these were not the Roman empire but remnants of the Grecian empire. When it comes to the toes which are a blended mess of iron and clay, the Hebrew word used to describe the mix is arab.

Daniel 11 is such a precise history of the intrigue and overthrow of governing bodies that happens toward the end of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic reigns, that many suspect it was written after the events took place. All these events play into the scenario described by Ezekiel and Daniel, and should not be ignored.

Daniel 8:23 NIrV "Toward the end of their rule, those who refuse to obey God will become completely evil. Then another king will appear. He will have a mean-looking face. He will be a master at making clever plans.

The Amplified Bible translates this passage in this manner, “when the transgressors [the apostate Jews] have reached the fullness [of their wickedness, taxing the limits of God's mercy], a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark trickery and craftiness shall stand up."

This is the same person that we see in Ezekiel 38,39.

Two questions.

  1. Until the day God pulls the plug and sends His wrath upon the nations and Israel, will there ever be a time when Israel is done transgressing?

    I cannot imagine it, and that is why we have allusions to them reaching their fullness or becoming completely evil.

  2. When you look at a world ruler today, do you say, there is a mean-looking man?

    I don't either unless I am looking at Principe Erdoğan, the President of Turkey. Who, by the way, is a Muslim.

    • A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue.” (NASB)

      What does that mean?

      Insolent is the Hebrew word 'az and means strong, vehement, harsh. This could be the description of several totalitarian world leaders.

      Intrigue, the Hebrew is chı̂ydâh and means a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: - dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.

      Webster's dictionary defines intrigue as "A plot or scheme of a complicated nature, intended to effect some purpose by secret artifices. An intrigue may be formed and prosecuted by an individual, and we often hear of the intrigues of a minister or a courtier, but often several projectors are concerned in an intrigue. The word is usually applied to affairs of love or of government."

When I think about the intrigue that went on behind the scenes with the Clinton administration and then the Obama presidency, it turns my stomach. President Obama made secret deals with the Iranians, giving them pallets of cash while requiring little in return. How many deals have been made with the Turkish government? And what is going on behind our backs as we speak? We may never know until it's too late.

Can I definitely say who this character is? No, as there are so many that fit the characteristics. I just know the end times are like a great puzzle, and the pieces are fitting together as we watch the news.

Daniel 8:25 KJV And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

  • The NASB tells us, His power will be mighty, but not by his own power,

    Where else do we find this idea of someone or something receiving power, but not his own?

    Revelation 13:2 NASB And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

So it is not an uncommon idea that a demonic entity - a fallen angel, can and will give its power and authority to a human. Another highly visible place we see this is when Satan led Jesus up to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world.

Luke 4:6 NASB And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

    •  
  • and by peace shall destroy many.”

    The BBE conveys this imagery, “in his heart he will make himself great, and send destruction on numbers who are living unconscious of their danger;" It seems this could only happen if you believed you were safe. The Israeli Prime minister proclaims frequently, that Israel can protect itself.

    Again, we have little that tells us of this peace process he initiates. The largest piece of evidence for peace comes from Daniel 9:27, as I pointed out earlier in the text.

  • he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;”

    Far too many try to face off against God, with no success. It is a pointless and fruitless effort. And, it makes little to no sense when you look at this in terms of a conventional war. The statement itself implies that there is an acceptance of a God that holds order over everything, even if you don't know his name. And you, O' Gog, have the audacity to stand against him, the Prince of Princes. Those of us in the Christian community understand this Prince to be Jesus Christ the Messiah. Odd how so many in the world refuse to see that.

  • but he shall be broken without hand.”

    We have not arrived at that point yet, but God sends a firestorm upon those attacking Israel, and Gog is given a burial place on the hills of Israel. This event almost sounds like the weapons, used by God, could be nuclear. I say this based the details we see as people mark the dead and then teams come to dispose of the bodies.

We are told that God does all this to demonstrate his power to the nations – those standing by and watching. Sadly, none of this seems to make a difference as approximately 1260 days later, Israel is attacked once again.

Let me reiterate, we are looking at Ezekiel 38:12 where a vicious, militaristic leader attacks Israel for the purpose of destroying God. That, of course, will not succeed as God himself sends a firestorm upon Gog and his troops, killing them on the hills of Israel, and we will get to that as we progress.

I was asked, a couple of years ago, if we, the church will suffer tribulations. I think the obvious answer is YES. All you need to do is pay attention to what is happening to the church around the world. China is rounding them up and imprisoning the participants; in Northern Africa, in one week alone, estimates are that over 200 have been killed by Boko Haran, and Egyptian Muslims are killing the Coptic Christians in their churches and as they leave. These are all Muslim nations, but do the tribulations only come to those in Muslim nations? No, and the day is coming that here in America it will find you. And, all of this is prior to the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth.

I feel I spent far too much time including excerpts from Daniel 8 but I wanted you to understand how integrated the end times story in this Bible of ours. Some read their Bibles, believing that the New Testament is the only place you should focus your attention. However, you will find detailed information about end times events in Matthew's gospel; Paul's writings to the Thessalonian church; Peter's writings; Jude, and of course The Revelation. So the end times story is all around you. Understanding that God is on your side and wants to save you from the horrors that are to come, perhaps you should avail yourself of His love and accept Jesus Christ, His son.

Edited by omharris
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    • By omharris
      Having looked, extensively, at Ezekiel 38, we now turn to chapter 39. Once again, we see God compelling Ezekiel, to turn his face toward Gog, and say, Behold, I am against you. Ah, but who is God really against? But, the entire idea of looking at Ezekiel 38, 39 is this idea of God sending fire down from heaven to stop a war. We are about to get into that; but, first, a quick recap.
      The person, Gog, only shows up once in scripture, and there we find that he is a descendant of Reuben. Sadly Reuben's claim to fame is that he had sexual relations with one of his father's wives.
      1Chronicles 5:4 The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,
      This name does not show up again until Ezekiel begins to prophesy against him years later. With the Exodus beginning around 1446 B.C, it is probable that Gog predates the Exodus. Ezekiel does not come on the scene until approximately 593 B.C. That makes Gog well over 1000 years old if he is still alive, and you know that did not happen.
      So who is Gog?
      If you do your homework and look the word Gog up, you will find that:
      Gog can be depicted as a person (a man,) a people group, or, a nation. We also know that Gog is a leader, that directs his multinational army against Israel. They are of such a large number that they are described as clouds covering the earth. And, the majority of these troops and their leader are killed by God on the mountains of Israel, as a sign to the nations of His Holiness.
      One last piece of information: At the end of the millennial reign, Gog, once again leads deceived forces against Israel and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, in an attempt to kill God; and there, once again, God kills them all with fire from heaven.
      Most “Christians” will read this episode from Ezekiel, and not see the severe and deadly nature of Gog's actions, nor what God will do here, mainly in the Megiddo valley.
      I believe there are distinct aspects that define Gog, such as Gog and the majority of his troops die on the hills of Israel. How is that possible without some casualties among the citizens of Israel. Just the fact that Gog has made it in inside the borders means that infrastructure will be damaged.
      The point I am trying to make here, is that you need, frequently, to put flesh and blood on the biblical characters. People are going to die.
      Having been asked, will the church go through tribulation? My response, and even more so now, is, as of this date 07/10/18 Nigeria has now become the deadliest nation in the world for “Christians” as they are being slaughtered because of their beliefs.
      So, are we going through tribulations? Absolutely, but keep in mind that trials and the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth and the nations, is an entirely different matter altogether; and NO, we, as followers of Christ, are NOT subject to God's wrath. Tribulations, on the other hand, as Jesus noted, are always going to be a part of our lives.
      Since an event of this magnitude - the firestorm that kills so many troops will cause most to cower in fear, I think it is safe to say that God is trying to get them to look at Him more appropriately, instead of the habitual disdain nations have for the God they have refused to know.
      And now we find ourselves at the 39th chapter of Ezekiel.
      Ezekiel 39:1 NASB "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal;
      A translation I am growing fond of is the Complete Jewish Bible, and it reads like this.
      (CJB) "So you, human being, prophesy against Gog; say that Adonai Elohim says: 'I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval.
      Odd how there is no mention of Rosh in the Jewish version. Perhaps, Rosh inappropriately causes us to focus on another world leader, like Putin.
      After all my years of being in the church, I have concluded, that well-minded souls have repeatedly misdirected us. To some, this is not a problem as they are not going to do the background study that would lead them to the truth, and so they remain within the framework of their church traditions. Someone opposing the church traditions fuels their twisted fears, but all the while they continually try to get us to see the Pope as the Antichrist.
      This scenario is what we call false teaching. Not everyone means to deceive you, but it happens because we are not willing to do our homework and cling to tradition over truth.
      Ezekiel 39:2 ISV I'm going to turn you around, drag you along to your destruction, and bring you up from the farthest parts of the north, and carry you to the mountains of Israel.
      Note how the ISV uses some rather graphic words in this second verse.
      “I'm going to turn you around,”
      Large-scale leaders are not entirely insane; there is some thought applied, and costs are often counted. I suspect Gog is no different, and yet, God is, going to turn him around. You might think attacking Israel is not the wisest thing to do, but hatred seems to motivate and drive far too many people.
      In looking at Ezekiel 38, we see another interesting aspect of Gog's attack on Israel. It is God, who puts the thought in his mind. This idea to attack Israel is not just some casual thought that you can easily ignore; it drives him.
      “drag you along to your destruction,” 
      When Captain Jean Luc Picard, of the 'Starship Enterprise, encountered the Borg, we repeatedly heard a phrase; resistance is futile. I realize that this idea seems to throw the idea of free will out the window, or does it. Perhaps God has factored free will into His equation already. This problem with free will becomes evident to me as I think about a conversation I had with my Thursday morning group. We have recently been reading the Eugene Peterson book on Prayer. Having read several of Peterson's books already, I was not looking forward to it. However, I have been pleasantly surprised, as he looks at prayer from many directions, some of which are often less than religious, and I can appreciate that.
      Recently, during a portrayal on Peterson's part, of how adamantly Jesus prayed in the garden setting, I thought about how I once pounded on my steering wheel as I demanded that God honor his word and give me the trophy wife I wanted (Yes, she was pretty but deadly.) I got what I wanted, but dear Lord, I did not need what I got. In jest I said to someone, I think I heard God say, how's that working for you? By-the-way, I don't tell God how to run things anymore. I do, however, believe that the trophy wife, was a part of God's plan in the overall scheme of things, along with the associated pain. And, no, I struggle with the uncomfortable stuff just as you do; and yet, I must believe that it is all part of HIS plan, no matter how things look.
      “and bring you up from the farthest parts of the north, and carry you to the mountains of Israel.”
      How many times do we do things, thinking that it was our great idea? For myself, I am reminded of a night I got to thinking about something else and missed my turn to get on the freeway. Insistent upon using the highway it took another minute and a half to get back to the on-ramp. Up the hill I went; what I found as I crested the hill was a cataclysmic accident. Most likely I would have been a part of the crash had I not missed my turn.
      So, God hooks this man, plants the idea in his head, and drags him and his troops to the mountains of Israel. Rather impressive, and Gog thinks it is all him.
      Ezekiel 39:3 MSG Then I'll knock your bow out of your left hand and your arrows from your right hand.
      This idea of knocking your bow out of one hand, and your arrows out of another, cannot be literal, for, in today's warfare, you will die quickly, unless of course, you are a ninja. Seriously, a whole battlefield of ninjas, that is not going to happen. So it is an analogy, which demonstrates how futile, on the overall, that this war of Gog, is going to be. Again, I remind you, that Jews will die, but in comparison to the intent, the effect will be minimal.
      Ezekiel 39:4-5 NASB "You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5) "You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken," declares the Lord GOD.
      Note how the NASB tells us that Gog, and his troops, will fall on the mountains of Israel; and, they will fall in the open field. Now, look at how the Message reads.
      Ezekiel 39:4-5 MSG On the mountains of Israel you'll be slaughtered, you and all your troops and the people with you. I'll serve you up as a meal to carrion birds and scavenging animals. 5) You'll be killed in the open field. I've given my word. Decree of GOD, the Master.'
      In reading this literally, the first thing I see is Gog and his slaughtered troops on the mountains. Holding tightly to a literal read would then leave no one to “kill” in the open field, and yet, there they are. So the NASB, it seems, gives a more appropriate read of the upcoming play by play.
      Another thing I always think about when I read scripture. Having read statements where the Old Testament tells a story and everyone was there. One of the places we see this is in Daniel, where King Nebuchadnezzar has ordered a statue of himself built, and everyone must bow to it; the obvious factor, if you know the story, is that some created this scenario as an attempt at Jewish genocide. Now everyone, we are told was there, but we primarily see the three Hebrew's that worked in Nebuchadnezzar's court. Since you know the story, then you also know they did not bow and were thrown into the fiery furnace, and, walked out of that same furnace untouched by the smell of smoke. Where was Daniel? While the absence of Daniel seems insignificant, it proves that not everyone was there. Examples like this, but on a larger scale, are all throughout the O.T.
      So, here is the current scorecard.
      Gog and his armies – killed on the hills of Israel, and killed in the Megiddo valley.
      But watch what happens next.
      Ezekiel 39:6 NET. I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the LORD.
      The typical “Christian” might read Ezekiel 38, 39, and because they are lead about so easily by false teachers, will believe that Russia is the sole army coming down from the North and attacking Israel. But, we are told this person, the leader of Magog is coming, and they will be killed. If Gog and his troops have been killed, who then, are all these people in the coastlands, and why are they getting punished?
      So what do we know for sure?
      Ezekiel 38:3 Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. It is easy to visualize Meshech and Tubal, but there are allies of Gog coming to this fight.  These people were descendants of Reuben, and Gog was most likely born in Egypt. By the time God's people were led out of Egypt, they were fully immersed as Egyptians, hence the law. Oral history was the only thing they had. Thankfully, some remembered the stories tied to Abraham and their forefathers, or they would have been Egyptians to the soul. Since Reuben was intentionally disinherited, his anger and disdain may have carried with his descendants. We know that Gog traveled north to the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and, we know that Russia had a heavy hand in this same region for years. Turkey now plays the heavy hand across the majority of Asia Minor. These people were also integrated into what was known as the Scythians. A violent people group that were feared because they were excellent equestrians that excelled at warfare from horseback. People from Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Siberia were associated with the Scythians. Even Genghis Khan has Scythian blood as part of his ancestry. Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets. Persia = Modern day Iran. However, Persia has always had an association with Assyria, just as Nineveh did. So tuned your thinking toward those associated with Assyria (Babylon.)
      Ethiopia is easy enough to picture, as its name is modernized here. However, many call this Cush. Smith's Bible Dictionary tells us that Cush is “The name of a son of Ham, apparently the eldest, and of a territory or territories occupied by his descendants. The Cushites appear to have spread along tracts, extending from the higher Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. History affords many traces of this relation of Babylonia, Arabia, and Ethiopia."
      Put = Also a son of Ham. Put can be thought of as Libya, or the northern African continent. If it is the North African continent, then what nation has consistently been in the news lately? Nigeria, as they, under the auspices of Boko Haran (the African version of Islam,) go about killing off Christians.
      So, what is the common thread? Islamic nations.
      One of the things you should note is that places like Tarshish cannot be found on a map, and Sheba and Dedan seem to be allies.
      As of 07/12/18 Putin of Russia, is now working closely with Libya to strengthen their fighting abilities.
      Integration by Russia, to that level, tends to put Russia into this mix, albeit as a technical advisor.
      We seem to be on the verge of a massive and deadly event, that may carry long- term nuclear significance.
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