Articles by other Colleagues
The Importance of Bible Prophecy / Dr. David Reagan
Are We to settle for "Pop Theology" / Evangelist Dennis Pollock
Date Setting? / Chuck Missler
The Eschatology of Dead Sea Scroll / Dr. Randall Price
The Peace Process, The prelude to Peace, or to War? / Grant Jeffrey
The History of the Temple & The Future Temple / Dr. Randall Price
Israel and the Church: the Differences / Dr. Tom McCall
The Coming of Christ for His Church / Dr. John F. Walvoord
The Pre-Trib Rapture / Todd Strandberg
The Prophetic Postponement in the Prophecy of Daniel 9:27 Part #1 / Dr. Randall Price
The Prophetic Postponement in the Prophecy of Daniel 9:27 Part #2 / Dr. Randall Price
The Prophetic Postponement in the Prophecy of Daniel 9:27 Part #3 / Dr. Randall Price
The Folly of Date Setting / Dr. David Reagan
Psalm 16, Prophecies / Dr. Tom McCall
Son of David / Dr. Tom McCall
A Genetic Trace is Found Linking Kohanim Worldwide / Grant Jeffrey
The Land of Israel / Dr. David Reagan
The Genealogy of the Antichrist / Chuck Missler
Israel at 49 / Jimmy DeYoung
Keys to Interpreting the Book of Revelation / Dr. Ed E. Hindson
The Prophetic Significance of the Rise of China as a World Power / Dr. Tim LaHaye
America the Beautiful? / Dr. David Reagan
Earthquakes Increasing / Dr. Gary Fisher
Increase of Knowledge and Travel / Dr. Gary Fisher
Russia In Prophecy / Dr. Gary Fisher
Russia's Day of Destruction in Israel
by: Grant Jeffrey/ Grant Jeffrey Ministries
ATP Colleagues in Bible Prophecy
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zechariah 12:2-3).
"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all shine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee" (Ezekiel 38:1-6).
God is in control of history. As the earlier chapters of this book demonstrate some of God's appointments with destiny for Israel and the nations have already occurred. Several additional appointments remain to be fulfilled in the future. Russia and her allies (the former republics of the U.S.S.R., Eastern Europe and the Arabs) still await their appointment with destiny.
The Lord gave the prophet Ezekiel a prophetic warning directed to the nations of the "far north." Ezekiel was among those Jewish captives from Jerusalem who were taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel. He was raised near the Temple in Jerusalem and had studied to be a priest. He wrote "among the captives by the river of Chebar,...the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God" (Ezekiel 1:1). Ezekiel wrote his prophecies from Babylon from about 593 B.C. to 570 B.C. This prophetic message from God was directed to Ezekiel's fellow captives as well as to those Jews still living in Jerusalem and the generations that would follow him.
Ezekiel was given an astonishingly accurate prophetic vision about the rebirth of the nation of Israel that would occur in the spring of 1948 (detailed in chapter 3). He foretold that Israel would arise miraculously from the graveyard of the nations, where she was buried in A.D. 70 by the Roman army led by Titus. Incredibly, after almost two thousand years of exile the Jews would return to the Promised Land and would become "a mighty army" in her ancient homeland. In 1948, Israel triumphed against an invasion by six well armed Arab armies. Israel's military forces consisted of a small voluntary citizen army, totally inadequate weapons, a few jeeps and two small airplanes. Israel's armored force consisted of several vehicles captured from her enemies. Yet, like David's miraculous victory over Goliath, God supernaturally caused a weak Israel to survive and prosper defeating her Arab enemies against incredible odds.
The prophet Ezekiel received an amazing vision which depicted the Jewish people as a "valley which was full of dry bones." This certainly described the fate of Israel after it's destruction by Rome in 70 A.D. and the centuries of persecution that followed. Israel was buried in the graveyard of the ancient nations. Anyone who has seen the sickening scene of the huge pits full of emaciated, skeletal remains of victims of the Nazi death camps can imagine that this might have formed part of the vision that the prophet saw twenty-five centuries ago. The Lord asked him, "'Can these bones live?' and I answered, 'O Lord God, thou knowest"' (Ezekiel 37:3). Yet God told Ezekiel to watch a miraculous resurrection of these "dry bones." "So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army" (Ezekiel 37:10). Today, Israel has the world's third most powerful air force and possesses more tanks than any other nation other than the United States and Russia. The Israeli Defense Forces have rewritten the military manuals of the world with their audacious and brilliant tactics. According to many military analysts, today Israel has the third or fourth most powerful armed forces on earth.
Geographically, Israel occupies an area of land the size of New Jersey and only one-half the size of tiny Switzerland. Yet, despite its insignificant size and a population of only five million, Israel has attained a position of prime importance in the struggle between nations. For the last several years, over half of all of the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations have concerned Israel. This astonishing fact can be explained only by prophecy and the deep hatred of Israel expressed by Russia, the former republics of the U.S.S.R., Iran, the Arab nations and many Third World nations.
The prophet Zechariah prophesied two and a half thousand years ago, "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zechariah 12:2-3). Curiously, the first nation to formally recognize the state of Israel was Russia. In 1948, Stalin hoped that Israel would become a socialist nation and help offset the growing influence that the Western powers exercised in the Middle East. However, as Stalin soon came to realize, Israel would not become a pawn of her interests, so Russia quickly turned to the Arabs and encouraged their hatred towards the Jewish state.
More than two and a half thousand years ago Ezekiel prophesied about an invasion by Russia (called "Magog") and her allies. He said that after Israel was reborn as a nation, Russia and her allies would attack her in a violent attempt to completely annihilate the Jewish state. Naturally, Ezekiel did not describe the present nations of Russia, Germany, Syria, and Iraq by using their modern names. Rather, he referred to them by the names of the ancient tribes that occupied their geographical territories in the time the prophet was writing. The prophecies found in Ezekiel, chapter 38 and 39, describe this massive future Russian-Arab invasion of Israel and the spectacular defeat of the enemies of the Jews by the supernatural act of God.
The Lord warned the leader of Russia in these words addressed to Gog, the ruler of Magog (Russia): "Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee" (Ezekiel 38:7-9).
Following the flood in Noah's day, his sons and grandsons dispersed to various parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. Genesis 10 records the ancient genealogy of the nations naming the tribes that are later referred to by Ezekiel. Ancient historians, including Herodotus and Flavius Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews , tell us where most of these tribes ultimately settled. Many Jewish and Christians scholars conclude that the tribes referred to by Ezekiel are found in the list of nations below. The following chart and Figure 1 show the ancient name of each tribe and the modern nation that now occupies that particular territory.
In 1986 my wife Kaye and I were standing with our guide on the Great Wall of China. He told us that enemy armies from Mongolia and Siberia have attacked China at that very spot numerous times throughout Chinese history. The Chinese guide pointed out that due to the geography of this rugged terrain this location would be the logical place for the next Russian-Mongol attack on China. Arab writers confirm that in the Arabic language their name for the Great Wall of China is "the wall of Al Magog" because the Great Wall was built to keep out the invading armies from Magog (Russia).
The Identification of "Gog and Magog" as Russia
The names "Gog and Magog" are famous in biblical prophetic literature and Jewish rabbinical writings because of their role in the great War of Gog and Magog as predicted by the prophet Ezekiel (chapters 38 and 39). The book of Revelation (chapter 20) also records that millions will once again join with the nations represented by "Gog and Magog," led by Satan, in a final attack against the beloved city and camp of the saints at the end of the Millennium. This final war will be the last battle in human history. The prophecies indicate that three enormous wars will convulse the planet during the apocalyptic period known as "the last days." The first war as described by Ezekiel is that of Gog and Magog, the coming Russian-Arab invasion against Israel, the subject of this chapter. The second war, known as the Battle of Armageddon, will occur approximately seven years later. Armageddon is described in the prophecies of Joel, Zechariah, and especially the book of Revelation (16:16). This cataclysmic conflict will involve the entire world as the armies the East will battle against the armies of the West under the Antichrist. These titanic armies will be pitted against each other and Israel. Finally, when Jesus Christ descends from heaven with His army of heavenly saints (the resurrected Church), both armies will turn their fury against Jesus as the returning King of Kings will utterly defeat them. Finally, Revelation 20:8 tells us about a third war, the final battle of human history that will occur one thousand years later at the end of the Millennium. A large number of people born during the Millennium to those who survive the tribulation period will choose to join Satan in his attack against the future City of God. The prophet John foretold that his army will include the nations of "Gog and Magog" referring to Russia and other nations to the extreme north of the Holy Land.
The question of the proper identification of the nation of "Magog" is of great interest to serious Bible students who wish to clearly understand these great biblical prophecies. "Magog" is a real nation occupying a territory that was known to Ezekiel and his Jewish readers in the fifth century before Christ. I believe the evidence supports the conclusion that Magog refers to the territory that is currently occupied by the nation called Russia and several of the southern republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly the USSR). The majority of prophecy teachers agree with this conclusion. However, a number of biblical scholars have challenged this identification of Magog with the Russian nation. Some scholars suggest that Magog was connected with some small tribal groups in ancient Mesopotamia in the area presently occupied by Iran. Others suggest Magog was connected with the tribes led by a king known as Gyges in the area of ancient Lydia (present day Turkey) to the south of Russia. The ancient historian Pliny claimed the Syrians thought the name of Gog is the same with Gyges a king of Lydia, whose country was called from him Gygea, or Gog's land. King Gyges was the grandfather of King Croesus (Natural History l. 5.c.23).
Many liberal scholars reject any literal interpretation of this prophecy including the identification of Russia. These academics often interpret Ezekiel's prophecy as merely a symbol of the apocalyptic war between good and evil. The many details in this prophecy precisely describing nations, weapons, places, and actions during the war suggest that this is not a symbolic war. If we want to understand this prophetic message of Ezekiel we must determine the correct identification of Gog and Magog. A summary of the research material I have collected on the identification of Magog follows.
Jewish Scholarship and Magog
These passages in Ezekiel were studied in minute detail for thousands of years by Jewish sages. Consequently the conclusions drawn by these scholars should illuminate the true meaning of the Hebrew words "Gog and Magog." Genesis chapter 10 lists Magog as a literal grandson of Noah who ultimately gave birth to a nation. This name, "Magog," was well known to every Jew who studied this Genesis passage every year as part of their annual Sabbath reading of the Torah. The prophet Ezekiel named "Magog" together with other specific nations such as Libya, Persia, and Ethiopia in his prophecy about this future war. This strongly suggests that Ezekiel expected the name "Magog" would be understood by his Jewish readers as a real nation, not as an abstract symbol of evil.
A recent commentary on Genesis, Bereishis -Genesis: A New Translation With a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic Sources, includes this commentary on Genesis 10:2. "Magog is mentioned several times in Scripture, e.g. Ezekiel 38:2; 39:6 as the name of the land of Gog. Kesses HaSofer identified them with the Mongols who lived near China, for in fact the very name Mongol is a corruption of Magog." The commentary also cites Arab writers who refer to the Great Wall of China as the wall of Al Magog." A 1961 commentary by Dr. J. H. Hertz, the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, comments on the famous Genesis 10 passage. His comment on the identification is as follows: "Magog- The Scythians, whose territory lay on the borders of the Caucasus." Another credible scholar, the Jewish-Christian writer, Dr. Alfred Edersheim, in his book, Bible History-Old Testament, identified Magog as the Scythians.
A fascinating 1980 Jewish commentary on Daniel, published by The ArtScroll Tanach Series, makes the following comments on the identity of Magog in this statement: "The various traditions concerning the identity of Magog, who in Genesis 10:2 is listed among the sons of Noah's son Japheth, tend to place the land of Magog in what today is southwest Russia-The Caucasian region, which lies between the Black and Caspian Seas... This is in agreement with Yerushalmi Megillah 3:9 which renders Magog as "the Goths," a group of nomadic tribes who destroyed the Scythians and made their homes in Scythian territory... Our identification of Magog as Caucasia, which was at one time inhabited by the Goths, is based on the assumption that the land of Magog is named after Japheth's son." In another passage, the commentary noted, "Rabbi Chisdai Ibn Shaprut wrote to the king of Khazaria (a Caucasian kingdom in southern Russia which converted to Judaism in the eighth century after Christ) in which he addresses the king as 'prince, leader of Meshech and Tubal.' This salutation, drawn from our verse, indicates that the Gaonim had a tradition that these countries were indeed located in Russia."
This highly acclaimed commentary concludes this section with a fascinating comment. "In this light one may understand an oral tradition passed down from the Vilna Gaon (see Chevlei Mashaiach BiZemaneinu p. 134), that when the Russian navy passes through the Bosporus (that is, on the way to the Mediterranean through the Dardanelles) it will be time to put on Sabbath clothes" (in anticipation of the coming Mashiach.) The Jewish sages warned that the generation that witnessed the Russian preparation to invade Israel should prepare their hearts because the coming of the Messiah was at hand. The famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who lived at the time of Saint Paul, wrote a definitive history of the Jewish people called the Antiquities of the Jews. On page 30 and 31 of his history Josephus identified the people from Magog as follows. "Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians."
Christian Scholarship that Identifies Magog as Russia
The section of Dr. R. Young's book, Young's Analytical Concordance of the Holy Bible, dealing with Magog speaks of ancient Scythia or Tartary, a name used to describe southern Russia in past centuries. Professor Young said that the name "Gog" was derived from a phrase that meant a "high mountain" and that the phrase "Gog" in Ezekiel 38 referred to "A prince of Rosh, Mesheck, Tubal, and Tiras, in ancient Scythia or Tartary." Young also described "the descendents of Magog and their land, called Scythia, in the N. of Asia and Europe." The authoritative 1973 reference work, Eerdman's Handbook to the Bible, came to the same conclusion, "Magog, Meshech, Tubal and Gomer were all sons of Japheth (Noah's son). They gave their names to Indo-European peoples living in the Black Sea/Caucasus region, on the northern fringe of the then-known world." The Comprehensive Commentary of the Holy Bible, edited by Dr. William Jenks, provided some fascinating information regarding the identity of Magog. "Magog was the son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2), from whence the Scythians are generally supposed to be derived. The Mogul Tartars, a people of the Scythian race, are still called so by the Arabian writers... the Jews of his day thought 'Magog to be the Scythian nations, vast and innumerable, who are beyond Mount Caucasus and the Palus Mæotis, and near the Caspian Sea, stretching even to India.'" Dr. Jenks quotes Bochart on the following information. "The Koran, and a Christian poet of Syria (Ephraem the Syrian - see Chapter 9) before the Koran was published, both allude to a fable of Alexander's shutting up the barbarous and troublesome nations, Gog and Magog, near the N. Pole by an iron and brasen wall. The mountain Scythians extended hence (from the river Araxes) to the Caucasus, and those of the plain to the Don, the sea of Azof, and the N. Ocean. It is credible, that from the Rosh and Meshech nations dwelling about the Araxes, are descended the Russians and Moscovites."
One of the most important scholarly tools employed in the exegesis of Scripture is Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. Numerous scholars utilize this book as an authority on the precise meaning of Hebrew and Chaldee words found in the original languages of the Old Testament. In the section of his definitive work dealing with this identification Gesenius wrote, "Magog - PR. N. of a son of Japheth, Genesis 10:2; also of a region, and a great and powerful people of the same name, inhabiting the recesses of the north, who are at some time to invade the Holy Land Ezekiel 38, 39. We are to understand just the same nations as the Greeks comprised, under the name of Scythian (Josephus Antiquites of the Jews 1.6.1.)" It is important to note that Professor Gesenius referred to "Magog" as a real nation that will invade the Holy Land in the future. Gesenius' concluded that "Gog" was a real "prince of the land of Magog . . . also of Rossi, Moschi, and Tibareni, who are to come with great forces from the extreme north (38:15; 39:2), after the Exile (38:8,12) to invade the holy land, and to perish there, as prophesied by Ezekiel." In addition, Gesenius described the Revelation 20:8 passage as a reference to a final war involving "Gog and Magog" at the end of the Millennium. However, he correctly concludes this final war will be a totally separate event: "Gog and Magog in the Apocalypse belong to a different time to those spoken of in Ezekiel, so it is in vain to point out a discrepancy."
The literal interpretation of "Magog" by Gesenius and other biblical scholars stands in contrast to the allegorical interpretation of many modern scholars that treat Ezekiel 38, 39 as "apocalyptic literature" (referring only to a symbolic war between good and evil). Gesenius identified Magog as a real country, existing to the extreme north of the Holy Land, that will invade Israel in the future. He also identified Magog with the "same nations as the Greeks comprised under the name of Scythians." In light of these sources that identifies Magog with Scythia we must answer a critical question: Who were the Scythians and what geographical area did they occupy?
Professor G. Rawlinson wrote a definitive study of the ancient tribes and empires that ruled the Middle East called Five Great Monarchies. Rawlinson wrote a section dealing with Assyria (chapter 9) that included the following footnote: "The Scythians proper of Herodotus and Hippocrates extended from the Danube and the Carpathians on the one side, to the Tanais or Don upon the other." The geographic territories described by Professor G. Rawlinson that were ruled by the Scythians are located in the south of Russia including the Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia.
In Ezekiel 38:7 the prophet foretells that in this future conflict Russia (Magog) will also be the arm's supplier for all of these nations. God says, "Be thou a guard unto them." It is fascinating to observe that the armories of these nations, without exception, are filled with AK-47 assault rifles, SAM missiles, RPG7 anti-tank weapons and various other Russian-manufactured arms, exactly as the Bible foretold thousands of years ago. The prophet described an invasion that would come without warning in which the enemy invaded like a "storm" or "cloud to cover the land." It is possible that the prophet saw in vision an airborne invasion force, like D-day, and used the best words he had available to describe such an event.
The Coming Russian-Arab Invasion of Israel
Bible prophecy provides some insight into the ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Thousands of years ago the prophet Ezekiel (Chapter 38 & 39) predicted that a huge confederacy of Arab nations under Russian leadership would join together to attack Israel in the generation after the Jewish exiles have returned to their homeland. Despite massive changes in Russia the hard-liners in the KGB, the army and military-industrial complex maintain their grip on power. A recent study of the role of the military in Russia revealed that Boris Yeltsin secretly appointed over 14,000 senior military generals to assume command of every single department of the Russian government including the Health, Agricultural, Transportation, and Mining ministries. Until the recent political changes in Russia, no one could rise to the rank of major in Russia's army unless they were an approved member of the Russian Communist Party. Therefore, these military officers are virtually all Communists. By this action Yeltsin has allowed the Communist Party and their military allies to secretly assume control over major decisions in his government. Although Yeltsin won the June 1996 elections, the communists hold a clear majority in the Duma (Parliament). The real leadership of Russia remains firmly in the hands of the Communist Party, the renamed KGB (now called the Foreign Intelligence Service) and the army generals.
Twenty-six centuries ago the prophet Ezekiel prophesied that a military leader would arise to lead a Russian-Arab alliance to attack Israel. Ezekiel predicted that this leader would say "I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates" (Ezekiel 38:11). It is interesting to note that, during the lifetime of Ezekiel and up until A.D. 1900, virtually all of the villages and cities in the Middle East had walls for defense. Ezekiel had never seen a village or city without defensive walls. Yet, in our day, Israel is a "land of unwalled villages" for the simple reason that modern techniques of warfare (bombs and missiles) make city walls irrelevant for defense. This is one more indication that his prophecy refers to our modern generation.
Since 1948 Israel has been forced to live as an armed camp while surrounded by 21 nations with two hundred million Arabs that are committed to her destruction. She has not been able to "dwell safely." This threatening situation forced Israel to spend more of its budget on defense than any other country. However, the present peace negotiations between the PLO and Israel may create a false sense of security during the next few years that will allow the Jewish state to relax its defenses and believe she can "dwell safely." This peace process may set the stage for the fulfillment of the great War of Gog and Magog prophesied by the prophet Ezekiel.
When this Russian-Arab alliance attacks Israel the prophet declared that God will intervene with supernatural earthquakes and pestilence to defeat the combined Russian and Arab armies. This miraculous deliverance by the hand of God may set the stages for Israel to build the Third Temple as described by Daniel 9:24-27. These awesome prophetic events will prepare the way for the fulfillment of the prophecies of the rise of Antichrist to rule the earth and his seven-year treaty with Israel. This treaty will commence a seven-year countdown to the return of the Messiah at the Battle of Armageddon to establish His kingdom on earth. These critical developments in the Middle East encourages believers to live in constant expectation of the glorious return of our Messiah. Yeshua (Jesus) said, "when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh"(Luke 21:28). Yet we must live in a spiritual balance in these last days. Although our Messiah may return soon He may also delay His return for a generation because our Lord "is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance"(2 Peter 3:9) We must live and witness to those around us as though His return will occur immediately. Yet we must also plan and work as though we still have a hundred years. Our Lord commanded, "Occupy till I come"(Luke 19:13).
The Strategic Importance of the West Bank and the Golan Heights
If Israel's present government under Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to surrender vital strategic territory in the West Bank and the Golan Heights in its "Land For Peace" negotiations with its Arab neighbours it will face military disaster in the next war. The tragic history of the Middle East indicates clearly that another war will occur. It is only a question of timing. Israel requires military control of the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank in order to provide the strategic depth to defend itself against the overwhelming military force of 21 Arab nations. The Arab nations have territory that is 500 times the size of tiny Israel. Why do the Arabs need this strategic land called the Golan Heights and the West Bank? Every European or American military study in the last twenty-five years has concluded that Israel cannot be defended by conventional weapons if it loses military control over these vital strategic territories. The US Joint Chiefs of Staff 1992 study confirmed Israel could not surrender the Golan, Gaza or the West Bank and expect to survive an Arab invasion. History shows that nations never surrender land they captured following a war where they defended themselves against an attacker. The Golan Heights is less than 1% of the territory of Syria. The Golan was only controlled by Syria for a few decades from World War I to the Six Day War in 1967. The only reason Syria needs this small territory is to attack Israel. However, Israel needs the Golan Heights to resist Syria's tanks. In addition, 30% of Israel's water comes from the Golan. Without the West Bank territory Israel will be less than nine miles wide at its center near Tel Aviv where almost eighty percent of its population lives. In a future conflict enemy armies could cut Israel in two by attacking from the PLO controlled high ground of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The Jewish state could be overrun in a matter of days. In a future war Israel may be forced to resort to nuclear weapons from the onset when it finds its small diminished territory about to be overcome by enemy armies. The Israeli army describes this scenario as "the Samson Option" because it would destroy the whole Middle East, just as Samson brought down the temple on his enemies. Despite this grim reality the Israeli government has agreed to relinquish the strategic area of the West Bank and Gaza while continuing negotiations with Syria on the Golan Heights. If this Oslo II peace process continues, for the first time since its creation in 1948, Israel's conventional army and air force will be unable to successfully defend its vital territory and population from an overwhelming Arab armed invasion.
The Lord commands us to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee" (Psalms 122:6). However, the current peace process between the PLO and Israel may set the stage for the fulfillment of these tremendous prophecies leading to the Messiah's return in our generation. While we long for true peace in the Middle East we must recognize that the ancient prophets warned that a false peace would set the stage for the final conflict that would end with the Battle of Armageddon. The prophet Jeremiah warned that in the last days men would say "Peace, peace! When there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14). Our world will not know true peace until Jesus the Messiah, the Prince of Peace comes. The Scriptures reveal that real peace will only come to the Middle East when the coming Messiah heals the hearts of both the Arabs and the Jews. Then both peoples will finally dwell as brothers in true peace under the rule of their Messiah.
The Proposal That Israel Offer the Arabs Land for Peace
The United Nations and the Arab states have continually demanded that the tiny nation of Israel surrender its land to achieve peace with its Arab neighbours. Islam is the major religion in thirty-five nations or twenty-two percent of the 159 member states of the United Nations. Judaism is the major religion in only one nation on earth, the state of Israel. However, we should consider some questions. How large is Israel compared to her Islamic neighbours? The state of Israel is less than one-tenth of one percent as large as the 35 Islamic states surrounding her throughout the Middle East. These thirty-five Islamic states possess 8,879,548 square miles of territory and a combined population of 804,500,000. To put this in perspective, the tiny nation of Israel is only 8,020 square miles in size with a population of less than five million people. This means that the surrounding Islamic nations are 1,107 times larger than the territory of Israel. Texas alone is over thirty-two times the size of Israel. Saudi Arabia is over one hundred and seven times the size of Israel.
In addition, these nations are incredibly wealthy as a result of their oil resources and are naturally related to the Palestinians by both race and religion. Why should Israel surrender its small and strategically required territory to the Arabs when the Islamic states have more than a thousand times the land and vast oil wealth to absorb the Palestinian Arabs?
Israel's Covenant With Death
Several years ago the world was astonished to witness the leaders of Israel and its deadly enemy, the PLO, sign a peace treaty that promised to end the fratricidal warfare that has characterized the Middle East for almost fifty years. PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin took the first tentative steps towards a possible peace treaty in the Middle East. Does this mean true peace is at hand? Or, will a false peace lead inevitably to the War of Gog and Magog prophesied by the ancient prophets of Israel?
The Arab governments and the PLO now claim that they are offering Israel "peace for land." But what kind of "peace" are they offering? There are two concepts of "peace" in the Arab language. One represents true peace such as we enjoy between Canada and the U.S.A. where we genuinely wish our neighbours well. The other concept of peace is more like "an armed truce." During the crusades the leader of the defeated Muslim armies, Saladin, offered the English general, Richard the Lion Heart, a peace treaty. However, two years later, after rebuilding his armies, Saladin broke his agreement and defeated the English armies. In Yasser Arafat's speeches to Arab audiences, he explained that he will offer Israel "the peace of Saladin." This proves that he is offering Israel "an armed truce" rather than true peace. The PLO have not relinquished their commitment to conquer all of the land of Israel. All Palestinian groups uses emblems, flags, and letterhead that contains maps showing that all of Israel and the territories must be conquered from the Jews.
The PLO have often declared that their long-term strategy is to eliminate Israel in a plan called "liberation in phases." Since 1974 Yasser Arafat decreed that during the first phase of his "Phases Plan" the PLO will establish a beachhead in Gaza and the West Bank. In the second phase their armies will take over Jerusalem. In the final phase, they will build up their strength in Gaza and the West Bank to finally conquer all of Israel. On Sept. 1, 1993 Arafat confirmed to an Arab audience that his peace accord was part of his "Phases" plan. During interviews many Arabs declare they will never be content until they recover the entire land of Israel from the Jews. Arafat stated in 1980: "Peace for us means the destruction of Israel." The Koran teaches that, if a land was ever occupied in the past by Muslims, then it must be recovered by Jihad, or holy war. Although Yasser Arafat has pledged to eliminate references to the destruction of Israel from the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, it is significant that he has refused to call for a conference to do so. Furthermore, most of his Arab allies refuse to relinquish their goals to destroy the Jewish state.
Setting the Stage for a Seven Year Treaty with Antichrist
The United Nations and the Arab states continue to call for the elimination of Israel's nuclear weapons. The introduction of Iranian nuclear weapons and the growing possibility of Libya, Syria, and Iraq joining the nuclear club has altered the strategic balance. It is difficult to see how a balance of nuclear terror could continue for very long between Israel and the Islamic states dedicated to its destruction. Plans to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East may tempt a future Israeli government to agree to relinquish its nuclear option. Israel realizes that an unstable Arab regime might be tempted to use their atomic warheads even though it would result in mutual assured destruction. In Islamic religious philosophy they would gain paradise if they died a devastating war to cleanse the "infidels" from Jerusalem. In a few years these events will set the stage for a superpower to guarantee Israel's security and borders. Several prophecies describe the revival of the Roman Empire in the end times to dominate Europe and the world as it did thousands of years ago in the days of Christ. The rise of the European Community is creating an economic and political superpower that is increasing its involvement in the Middle East. The prophet Daniel wrote that a future Antichrist would arise in the last days to control the revived Roman Empire. Daniel predicted that "He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week." This verse indicates that this future European dictator would confirm a treaty to defend Israel for seven years. The signing of this future treaty will start the final seven-year countdown to Armageddon, the climactic battle when Jesus Christ will defeat the armies of the world to establish His kingdom forever. This interim peace agreement between the PLO and Israel may set the stage for the fulfillment of these tremendous prophecies leading to Christ's return in our generation.
When the "Gog and Magog" invasion occurs, (see figure 2) it appears that the only response from the Western democracies will be a diplomatic protest. Ezekiel 38:13 says that "Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish" and "the young lions thereof, [probably the United Kingdom, the United States and the Commonwealth nations] shall say unto thee, "Art thou come to take a spoil?" Tarshish, Sheba and Dedan were ancient trading nations and are believed by many Bible scholars to refer to Spain or Britain and their former colonies ("the young lions thereof'). It will not be the West which responds to this attack. The superpower who intervenes to save Israel in its greatest hour of need will be their great defender, the God of Abraham.
God declares through His prophet Ezekiel that He will defeat Russia totally in the greatest military disaster in history. According to Ezekiel 39:2 five-sixth's of the Russian-Arab armies (85 percent) will be annihilated by God upon the mountains of Israel. The Lord will trigger the greatest earthquake experienced thus far in history, centered on the mountains of Israel, but affecting the cities around the globe. In addition, the supernatural destruction will be accompanied by God's judgments including "pestilence, overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire, brimstone" (38:22). God will send such confusion and chaos that "every man's sword shall be against his brother" (verse 21). The devastation and loss of human life will be so great that "seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them" (Ezekiel 39:12). The captured weapons and fuel supplies will provide fuel for the towns and villages of Israel for seven years following the victory (verse 9).
Research has found that some Russian-produced weapons were manufactured using a new material known as lignostone, prepared from compressed wood product which was developed in Holland to be used as fuel. However, the Soviet weapons laboratories discovered that this unique product of lignostone was as strong as steel, light, pliable, and almost invisible to radar. These unique characteristics encouraged the Russian military to utilize this material in many military vehicles and weapons. One of its characteristics is that it burns at very high temperatures and could be readily used as an alternative fuel. This unique material together with the fact that mobile Russian units carry large amounts of fuel for their tanks and helicopters may explain the prophecy that the defeat of this army will provide ample fuel to Israel for a period of seven years.
The prophecy recorded in Ezekiel 38:21 and 39:21-22 indicates that God's purpose in this extraordinary intervention in history is to glorify and sanctify His Holy Name in the sight of Israel and the Gentile nations. The awesome destruction associated with this victory over the Russian-Arab armies will not be confined solely to the invading armies. God declared, "And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 39:6). Russia will be devastated by the wrath of God as well as those "dwelling carelessly in the isles" which may refer to both Europe and America.
Russian has pre-positioned enormous military supplies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Egypt in preparation for the coming Russian-Arab invasion of Israel. It is far easier and more efficient for Russia to airlift huge numbers of lightly armed men into Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon than to airlift the military supplies for them. Military equipment often weighs five to ten times the weight of the soldier who will use that equipment. The same logic forces the U. S.A. to pre-position enormous amounts of military logistics in Europe to be available for American and Canadian troops who would be flown into West Germany in the event of a Russian invasion of Western Europe. The P.L.O., Iraq, and Syria are themselves already so heavily armed that they have little practical use for this additional equipment.
God set an appointment more than twenty-five hundred years ago to destroy Gog and Magog on the mountains of Israel "Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?" (Ezekiel 38:17). It is fascinating to read the Jewish commentaries on Ezekiel 38 and 39 which describe an oral tradition recorded from the Vilna Gaon that advises Jews to observe carefully when the Russian fleet (Magog) passes from the Black Sea through the Bosporus to the Mediterranean. "It is now the time to put on your Sabbath clothes because the Messiah is coming." For the first time in history, the Russian Navy has surpassed all other navies in the world in size, and has moved massive numbers of ships from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean Sea opposite Israel to challenge the former U.S. Naval supremacy in that strategic area.
Although Scripture does not indicate the exact year in which this invasion and defeat will occur, the prophet Haggai give us a strong indication of the actual day of the year on the Jewish calendar when this prophecy will be fulfilled, as we discussed in the previous chapter. Haggai reveals that on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the Jewish calendar (Chisleu), the day before Hanukkah, God will deliver Israel as He did twice before on this anniversary: (1) the defeat of the Syrian army and recapture of the Temple in 165 B.C. and (2) the capture of Jerusalem from the Turks in A.D. 1917.
The prophet Haggai declares: "The Word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month [Chisleu], saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother" (Haggai 2:20-22).
This description and the exact language is uncannily like that of Ezekiel 38 and 39 which describes Russia's defeat. The interesting point is that it names the exact day of the year on which this will occur. Since so many other prophecies have been so precisely fulfilled to the day, there is a strong likelihood that this event will also occur on its appointed day. "Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken" (Ezekiel 39 8). God's appointment with Russia is set; it will be kept.
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