Full Episode 018: The Russian-Iranian-Turkish Alliance (War of Gog & Magog) | Inside the Epicenter
War of Gog and Magog, the enemies who God will fight to reveal himself that will end in a period of peace.
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War of Gog and Magog, the enemies who God will fight to reveal himself that will end in a period of peace. Through the verses, Joel explains geography clues to help up understand who will be involved in this war, the restored land where God will fight, and the importance of that land to be reborn as a country before it all started. Are we close to these events? That´s a thought that Joel reflects on through the reading. Listen to Joel explaining how God will reveal himself, the importance of judgment in this context, and the vision of the Messiah.
This teaching is from October 2019.
- [Announcer] Coming up on this episode of "Inside the Epicenter".
- [Joel] This, to me, as much as anything else in scripture tells me, okay, judgment is coming to Israel's enemies and some of the neighbors were enemies, Israel doesn't understand who the Lord is, and this should motivate us, before these events happen, to make sure that everybody in this part of the world knows Jesus. Okay, let's open the scriptures to Ezekiel chapter 38 and 39, what Bible scholars often called the war of Gog and Magog. Ezekiel chapter 38 beginning in verse one and I'm reading from the New American Standard Translation. "And the word of the Lord came to me," this is Ezekiel writing, "saying, son of man, set your face toward God of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal and prophesy against him and say, 'Thus says the Lord, God, 'Behold, I'm against you, oh Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.''" Okay, so this Gog figure is some sort of leader he comes from some sort of land. And he's a political leader, a prince over some territory called Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Don't know what Rosh is. Don't know what Meshech is. Don't know what Tubal is. But the last part of that verse is: and prophesy against him. That I can understand. So I go back to the category of things I can understand, something goes badly for this Gog guy. God, with a D is against Gog with a G, that I can understand. So just taking a deep breath, having a decaf, slowing it down. What do I understand? God is against Gog. That's one, verse one. And then he's not only supposed to hear this, Ezekiel is supposed to say this. Well, what do we see in the airports all the time? See something, say something. That's what a Watchman does: he hears, he sees, he speaks, or she. Verse four: God says to Gog, "I will turn you about, I'm gonna put hooks into your jaws and I will bring you out and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them, splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield and all of them wielding swords." Stop there. This guy is a prince, he's a political leader, he's from someplace, God's against him and wow, now he's got an army. He's got an army and God's gonna pull him into some sort of war, some sort of battle. And he's gonna bring all these military forces and set them into motion against some target. We don't even know who these names are yet, but this is all easily discernible if we don't panic, if we slow ourselves down and look at the plot of the text. Now, verse five, we begin to see some allies of this Gog figure come into play. Persia, well, Persia is an easy one. It should be because until 1935, Persia was the official legal name of the country we now call the Islamic Republic of Iran. So now, suddenly, we have a clue. Someday Iran is gonna play some factor as the first among equals of allies with this Gog figure in some sort of war that God is against but is setting into motion and we can assume, at first, if God's against you and he's pulling you into war, that's gonna lead to some sort of judgment. That's an assumption at this point. We'll see if it plays out in the text. For many of you, the next word is Ethiopia. Now that's a challenge, again, in Bible prophecy, because when you see a word, then you think, okay, well it's Ethiopia. Well, it might be Ethiopia. In this case, I prefer translations that don't translate the ancient words into modern names. In this case, I think that would have been better. They didn't translate Magog into a country, they didn't even translate Persia into Iran, but they do take the word Cush and they translate it into Ethiopia. Now the challenge with that is that Cush is an ancient territory south of Egypt, which could certainly include what we currently call Ethiopia but in the ancient time, Ethiopia was a much larger territory. Now we would say this is Sudan. And, of course, there's two, a Northern Sudan and then the Southern Sudan and it could also include Ethiopia, possibly Eritrea. But the point is it's the upper Nile region, which in the uniquenesses of Egypt in that area means south of Egypt. So we would now call the primary territory here would be Sudan. I'm adding something that you can't know from this text but is a reason to be looking up the words in a Bible dictionary, blueletterbible.org is a great way to drill into a specific verse and then look at what are the Hebrew or, in the New Testament, Greek words, or Aramaic and other types of words and just try to understand what's specifically being said. I'll give you that one for free. The next one is Put, where do we put Put? Well, right now we put it in the category of countries we don't know. But all of these are allies of this Gog figure whom God is against and they have shields and they have helmets. So they're a part of the military coalition. Verse six, Gomer with all his troops. Well, I'll just signal that this is not where Gomer Pyle is from. Instinctually, you may have thought that. He was in the army, this has an army but no, in this case, that would be a wrong interpretation. So we put Gomer in the category of, I don't know, but clearly this is another one of the allies and they have troops as well. And then Beth-togarmah some girl named Beth, she's popped her way up into, no, no, this would mean house of Torgamah. Again, probably don't know it, put it in that category, but they come from the remote parts of the north. Now we're getting some geography clues. We'll come back to that in a second, but they have all their troops too, many peoples with them. What's happening is a military coalition is clearly being formed. And God says to Gog, "Get ready, be prepared." That's the NIV translation. Here, it says, "Be prepared, prepare yourself, you and all your companies," that doesn't mean Apple, Google, Intel, that means the military force. Get yourself ready for war. You will come into the land that is restored from the sword, you and all your companies that are assembled about you and be a guard for them. After many days, so we don't know how many days, you will be summoned. In the latter years, okay, ping! That's an eschatological phrase, that suggests to us that this is an event that will happen in the end times 'cause that latter years, the last days and latter, that's a phrase that's used repeatedly through the Old Testament, meaning it's not something that's gonna happen in the life of the ancient Hebrew prophet. This is something that will happen in the last days of history. And in the latter years, you, this military force, led by Gog come into the land that is restored from the sword. What land? Well, the land whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, ping! A word we know, woo-hoo! Now we know that this Gog figure is putting together a war machine, a multinational coalition to attack a country that's been reformed in the latter years. And its name is Israel. Okay, well now a picture is emerging out of the fog. For all the stuff that we didn't know, we suddenly know quite a bit. We know that the Israel is in the crosshairs of this Gog guy. And what happens? Well, this forest will come against the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste, but its people were brought out from the nations and they are living securely, all of them. This is interesting. If you'd read this anytime over the last 2000 years, you'd have to tell yourself, well, someday the Jews will be regathered into the land of Israel and someday they will have a country called Israel again and someday they will have taken all the swamp land, the wasteland that had been a continual waste forever, it seemed, and they're gonna make it work again. It will become a functional country and a country of Jewish people called Israel that had been at war, almost constantly, will somehow feel like they're living securely someday in the future. So that means a whole set of things had to have happened before the Gog and Magog war could happen. Israel had to be reborn as a country. Now what's interesting is that Ezekiel 38, you may have noticed comes right after chapters 36 and 37. I know that's a freebie also, in case you hadn't, but what happens in Ezekiel 36 and 37? Well, these are the most famous prophecies about Israel being regathered, Jews coming back to the land of Israel, Victor and Esther and how their families coming back to the land of Israel. My family, coming back to the land of Israel and resettling in a land that once had been scattered, once had been a continuum waste, once had been fraught with warfare, now rebuilt and gathered and living securely. It never says peace in this chapter or the next. As you go through it, you would not find the word shalom or any of the other words that would suggest that Israel is actually at peace. So you wanna be careful not to leap from living securely to peace. What does living securely mean? Well, I would argue that one could make the case to right now Israelis feel like we're living securely. We don't have peace with all of our neighbors. We've got two peace treaties though, the first in history, we have the most advanced and effective air force in the entire region, we have submarines that have missiles that, it's been said, I've read somewhere that they might be armed with nuclear warheads that might be just under the water, just off the coast of Iran and some of our other allies, just waiting, just in case, #justsaying. We never had that in 2000 years. Now we do. We have missiles that can reach all of our enemies from our territory, as well as from the submarines. This has never happened. We have a strategic alliance, a very close alliance with the world's only superpower, the United States. We have Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other Gulf states that don't have peace treaties with us, showing more warmth and are gravitating towards us for the first time ever. We have a security wall that's prevented suicide bombers, by and large, when we were being bombed in our cafes and schools and buses and all kinds of city buses all the time, just a number of years ago. Now we don't have that. I'm not saying it's peaceful entirely, but Israelis, actually, if you look at the polls, say they feel more secure today than at any other time. Could that suggest we're getting close to Ezekiel 38 and 39, setting in motion? Possibly. Now, for the sake of time today, I am gonna say that you can begin to do the research, what I call historical detective work and begin to decipher what these words mean. I wrote a nonfiction book a number of years ago called "Epicenter", where I walk through this prophecy in quite a bit of detail and much of it is end-noted, you can go up and look up all my sources. But the short version for today is that Gog is not a name. It's not a formal personal name. We're not looking for the emergence of Fred Gog or Bob Gog or Ahmed Gog or Dimitri Gog. It's not a name, it's a title like Pharaoh or Czar. He's clearly a Bible bad guy. In verse 10, we get even more evidence. Thus says the Lord, God, "It will come about on that day," that phrase, by the way, on that day, is an eschatological phrase, it means something that's coming in the end times that thoughts will come into your mind, speaking to Gog and you will devise an evil plan. He's a prince, he's a political leader of a territory, of a coalition, of military forces that are gonna attack Israel in the last days. It's evil, God's against him. I think that part is clear. Verse 16, you, Gog, will come against my people, Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against my land. So there are repeated references to this being an end time prophecy. Now what happens? Once this coalition forms, verse 18 begins to explain what God says is going to happen. And I'm just gonna forewarn you that you are not going to see any evidence in this text that Israel comes to its own defense. You're not gonna see any evidence that the United States, this great ally of Israel is gonna come to Israel's defense, no evidence that the UN or the EU or NATO or any other country is gonna come to Israel's defense when this Russian-Iranian-Turkish alliance comes against Israel in the last days. What is going to happen? Verse 18, "It will come about on that day when Gog comes against the land of Israel," declares the Lord, God, "that my fury will mount up in my anger. In my zeal and in my blazing wrath, I declare that on that day, there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field and all the creeping things that creep on the earth and all the men, all the men," I would circle the word all, "the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at my presence. The mountains will also be thrown down. The steep pathways will collapse. Every wall will fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against him," him, who? Gog, "on all my mountains," declares the Lord, God, "every man's sword will be against his brother. With pestilence or disease and with blood, I will enter into judgment," okay, there's the word that finally emerges, we're not guessing this is a judgment. This is judgment. That's what God says. God says, "I will enter into judgment with him," with Gog, "and on the many peoples who are with him, who allied themselves with Gog, this Russian dictator, a torrential rain with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify myself, sanctify myself and make myself known in the sight of many nations and they will know that I am the Lord." Hi, this is Joel Rosenberg. If you've enjoyed this podcast, let us know, go to Joshuafund.com and use the Contact us form to provide feedback. Likewise, if you'd like this podcast to continue, you can donate through our giving page and you can find that link in the upper right hand corner at joshuafund.com. This is what happens in drama, whether it's a novel, but better, I would say, in a movie, the good guy doesn't make it, the hero doesn't make it to the damsel in distress until the last possible moment. You say, well, how come Israel's not defending herself? Because God doesn't want Israel to take its own glory. Well, how come the United States isn't coming? Well, we don't know that. Does the United States even exist at this moment? Are they neutralized? Are they paralyzed politically? We don't know, doesn't talk about it. Why isn't anybody else coming? I don't know, it doesn't talk about it. It's clear that nobody comes to Israel's defense even though the noose is tightening around Israel's neck at this moment in the future, and God comes, he supernaturally comes and he wants everybody to know that he is God and he wants everybody to see his glory. Very specifically, verse 21 of the next chapter and God says, "I will set my glory among the nations and all," I would circle all," all the nations will see, not hear about, not read in the paper, "they will see my judgment," there's that word again, "Which I have executed and my hand, which I have laid on them. And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord, their God, from that day onward. And the nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their inequity because they had acted treacherously against me. And I hid my face from them. So I gave them into the hand of their adversary and all of them fell by the sword. According to the uncleanness and according to their transgression, I dealt with them. I hid my face from them, but then now," he's saying, "but now I'm back." Just when you thought I wasn't gonna get there in time, I'm coming. I'm coming to judge Israel's enemies and I'm coming to rescue Israel. Now, this is what happens in the movies. Think about it in the old-fashioned movies, the silent movies, the black and white movies, when the damsel in distress has got the, she's tied up, she's got the gag in her mouth and she's like, and the bad guys with the black hat and the black cape and he's dastardly, and he ties her to the railroad tracks. Now what happens? Where's the hero? We cut to the hero. The hero is being attacked by bad guys and he's on a horse. Whish, whish, hoo, hoo, hoo. Cut back to , bad guys, pew, pew, pew are shooting at our hero. The hero is in the mountains and everybody is attacking. He has to turn around and go the other way. Back to . Now what happens? Oh, now we cut to the train. Even though you can't hear the train 'cause you're hearing the piano music, but you can see the steam coming out as it's coming around the bend and she's like . And he's like, hoo, hoo, pew, pew, and the bad guys are coming and it's getting closer and closer and that train's coming. We cut to the train. We cut to the damsel. We cut to the hero, we cut to the bad guys, back to the train, back to the damsel, back to the hero, back to the train, back to the, right at the last minute, he jumps off the horse, he rolls over the tracks, the damsel is swept off, whish. The train goes by because you've never seen a movie in 1920. And you think she's gonna be cut in half in front of you. That's the hero arriving at the last possible moment. That's how drama is done. There's no point in having the hero get there early. Why would you go? Why would you stay? Why would you buy popcorn? You're only gonna watch this thing and be riveted on it if the hero arrives late. Welcome to the hero. God is our hero. God loves the nation of Israel, but Israel is , we have been a damsel who, you know, we've dallied with every other potential suitor on the planet. We have not been faithful to our hero, but that's what makes his heroism even more powerful, even sweeter. His love for her is sweeter, deeper, richer, because she has not been faithful, but rather than wish harm on her, the hero is coming and he's gonna get there just in time and all the world's gonna be watching. We live in the moment of history, the first moment in history where the world can watch this happen because of the miracle of global satellite television technology, because of the internet, we could watch this if it happened next week, next month, next year. We could watch this, the whole world would watch this. And wouldn't they? No matter what else has happened in the world, if Russia, Iran, Turkey and the rest of the world is about to consume Israel and the United States doesn't come, we'll be curious, what's gonna happen? And why, why is the hero come late? Because he wants everybody to be riveted. He is an author, the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the number one New York Times Bestseller of the world of all time. It's not me. It's him. He's the author, he's quite a dramatist. And what's the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal is to show his glory, that's what he says and to reveal himself, both to the nations and to Israel herself. Look at the end of chapter 39, starting in verse 28, chapter 39, verse 28: Then they will know, the world will know, that I am the Lord, their God and specifically Israel will know this because I made them go into exile among the nations and then gathered them again into their own land. This can only happen after Israel has been reborn as a country. And Israel hadn't been reborn as a country for 1900 years and now it has been. And so at least for that portion, we can say, check, things are in motion. God brings us back into our own land. And he says that I will leave none of them there any longer. And then verse 29, I love, love verse 29, I hope you do too. God says very clearly, "I will not hide my face from them any longer." It's not me. It's him. He's the author. He's quite a dramatist. And what's the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal is to show his glory, that's what he says, and to reveal himself both to the nations and to Israel herself. Look at the end of chapter 39, starting in verse 28, chapter 39, verse 28: then they will know, the world will know, that I am the Lord, their God and specifically, Israel will know this because I made them go into exile among the nations and then gathered them again into their own land. This can only happen after Israel has been reborn as a country. And Israel hadn't been reborn as a country for 1900 years and now it has been and so, at least, for that portion, we can say, check, things are in motion. God brings us back into our own land. And he says that I will leave none of them there any longer. And then verse 29. I love, love verse 29. I hope you do too, God says very clearly, "I will not hide my face from them any longer for I will have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel," declares the Lord, God. Now in the old days, the Old Testament period, knowing that the holy spirit was gonna be poured out and God was gonna rescue Israel, that's a good thing, we would say , this alone would be enough, but in the New Testament, we understand the role of the holy spirit is. The role of the holy spirit is to reveal the identity of the Messiah, the identity of Yeshua, Jesus. So as he pours out his holy spirit, he's gonna physically save and rescue the nation of Israel when no one else could or would, her own army included and then he's gonna start pouring out his spirit and he's not gonna hide his face anymore, he's gonna reveal himself and the identity of his son. And this means that more Jews will be coming to faith in Jesus, as Messiah, Lord, and King at this moment and in the aftermath of this moment than at any other time in human history, I believe because the world will see it, also, and the spirit will be being poured out that many, I think many Muslims will come to the conclusion the God that they thought was gonna help wipe out Israel must not be the right God, that the God of Israel is the one true God and that Jesus is, in fact, who he claims to be, the way, the truth and the life and that there is no other way to get to know God personally and be adopted into his family, to have your sins forgiven and go to heaven except through faith in Jesus' death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. That's what this prophecy is about. Why would you skip it? You don't understand the first few words? Okay. They're figure-out-able. I know that's not a word. I'm just making things up, but that's what I do, I make things up. But you can see once you get a sense of that, you think, wow, this is important. Yes, yes. This is important. This is why we don't wanna skip things like this. For me, this so compels me that this, to me, as much as anything else in scripture tells me, okay, judgment is coming to Israel's enemies and some of the neighbors are enemies. Israel doesn't understand who the Lord is, and this should motivate us before these events happen, to make sure that everybody in this part of the world knows Jesus, that they have at least heard the gospel and made their decision to receive him or to reject him. To me, this is one of the great motivators, for me, personally, for why we have the Joshua Fund because we are watchmen and okay, we're not watchmen in the Old Testament sense, but that's a principle that carries over. Now we know what's coming because of the prophets like Ezekiel. And because we know this and we see many trend lines suggesting how close we're getting, it could be 100 years away, God could kick the prophetic can up the road, it could be decades and decades away, maybe, but maybe not. It's pretty extraordinary the moment we're in and I don't wanna have blood on my hands even of Israel's enemies, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, all of Iran's allies, Russia's allies. No, no, no. They all need the gospel.
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