Peace, Safety, and BETACH (Dwelling Securely)

Many of us watching Bible Prophecy unfold are aware that the Day of the Lord will spring “like a trap” or as a “thief in the night” upon those who are not awake and watching.  When people are saying “peace and safety”, destruction will come suddenly.  Today I would like to examine this peace and safety, and how it relates to dwelling securely, or in a state of “betach”.

Peace and Safety

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,  for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV

The words Peace and Safety come from the Greek words Eirēnē and asphaleia.  Let’s examine each of these words separately.

Peace – Strong’s 1515 – is used 48 times in the New Testament.  Thayer’s Greek Lexicon adds some very interesting information here.  I would specifically draw your attention to #3:

  1. a state of national tranquility; exemption from the rage and havoc of war
  2. peace between individuals, i. e. harmony, concord
  3. after the Hebrew שָׁלוםsecurity, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
  4. Specifically, the Messiah’s peace
  5. according to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
  6. of the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

http://biblehub.com/greek/1515.htm

In the context of 1 Thessalonians 5, it would seem that peace could mean a state apart from war, or dwelling in security or safety.  These are people upon whom the destruction of the Day of the Lord will come, thus it cannot refer to believers (#4,5,6).

Safety – Strong’s 803 – is only used once in the New Testament.  Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that this word could mean a firmness or stability, or security from enemies and dangers.  Strong’s Concordance defines asphaleia as safely, security, reliability.  And HELPS Word studies adds in that it is a “firmness that equates to security”.

http://biblehub.com/greek/803.htm

Dwelling Securely

In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them.  (Ezekiel 38:8 ESV)

The word translated “dwell securely” is the Hebrew word lā·ḇe·ṭaḥ, Strong’s 983 betach, and there are 32 occurrences in the Old Testament.  These are translated as securely, in safety, carelessly, without care, and with confidence.

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

assurance, boldly, without care, confidence, hope, safely secure, surely

From batach; properly, a place of refuge; abstract, safety, both the fact (security) and the feeling (trust); often (adverb with or without preposition) safely — assurance, boldly, (without) care(- less), confidence, hope, safe(-ly, -ty), secure, surely.

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/983.htm

What Does Dwelling Securely Mean?

From the word studies above I think we can clearly connect the “peace and safety” of 1 Thessalonians 5 to Ezekiel 38’s “dwelling securely”.  These seem to be referring to the same event – some type of secure, prosperous, confident living, which will be disrupted suddenly and severely by the Day of the Lord.

This year we have seen a marked theme of “peace and security” in the news.

Are we dwelling securely?  More importantly, is Israel dwelling securely?

At the time of this writing (April 12, 2018), there is the usual tension between Hamas and Israel and threats coming from the Gaza strip.  But more prophetically, there is an interesting focus on Syria.  News reports have been pouring in for the last 2 days showing involvement of Russia, the UK, France, Israel, and the USA.  Syria should most definitely feel threatened.  But what about Israel?

Israel seems quite confident in its military prowess, which is considered one of the most technologically advanced in the world.  They are not currently at war.  As far as dwelling securely, I’m not sure that Israel can ever dwell completely at peace as long as it falls in the bulls’ eye of satan’s target.  But as far as its’ history goes, this is probably one of the times when it is most flourishing.

The End of Peace and Security

I believe that the prophetic wars of Isaiah 17 (the destruction of Damascus), Psalm 83 (Israel’s neighbors coming against her), and Ezekiel 38-39 (additional specific nations coming against Israel), will need to flow one into the other.  If we are the fig tree generation, there is not time for these wars to occur independently with years of recovery and peace in between.  But even more than that, from their prophetic descriptions they all have the same endpoint – the beginning of the Day of the Lord.

When the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (“Tribulation”) arrives, it will be marked all at once by the arrival of widespread war, global earthquakes, famines and pestilences, terrors and great signs from heaven.  Collectively, “all these” are the “beginning” of the birth pains.

This is why we scour the headlines on Syria, Damascus in particular.  This will be the spark that ignites the point of no return.  It will mark the transition from  “the end is not yet” to “the end has come”.  Now, when these things begin to take place, we look up, for our redemption draws nigh.  It will take approximately 7 years for all these things to play out, and true believers will be whisked away in the rapture right at the cusp.

I believe the phrases “Peace and Safety” and “Dwelling Securely” definitively connect the Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog Magog) war with the Rapture of the Church, pretribulation.


Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End

The Prophetic Significance of Blood Moons

Contrasting Ezekiel 38-39, Armageddon, and the Last Battle

How Many Gogs Are There?

Target Israel: Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39

Target Israel: The Battle of Armageddon

The Last Battle (EVER!)

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

The Armageddon Deception

Let me just put this out there:

I believe that the upcoming Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog/Magog) war will occur in conjunction with the rapture, and that the antichrist will claim it was the Battle of Armageddon.  He will then seek to “change the times and laws” and attempt to set up his own “kingdom age”.

There are a few reasons I believe this.  The first is that the Jews are expecting a Messiah figure to come and inaugurate a Messianic Kingdom.  When Jesus didn’t do that right away, they rejected Him.  The coming anti-messiah will attempt to fulfill the Messianic expectations of the Jews.  The second reason is that many who call themselves by the “Christian religion” are not truly born again in Christ.  These will not be raptured.  It is conceivable how those left behind would be confused and ripe for deception if they lack appropriate discernment.  The third reason is that the word is expecting an apocalyptic battle.  Many religions (Islam and New Age are two) prophesy that a major change is coming and will be marked by war.  These prophecies are vague enough that the Ezekiel 38-39 war would easily “fulfill” them, if the right person delivered a smooth interpretation accompanied by signs and wonders…

Much of Israel, and likely the world, will thus interpret the Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog Magog) war and the events that follow as fulfilling Messianic prophecies. Israel’s partial blindness will be lifted (Romans 11:25) and they will see God because of God’s direct and unmistakable intervention to save them.  Israel will rightly worship God as a result, but instead of embracing Jesus as their Messiah (Yeshua HaMashiach – as two witnesses and 144,000 Jews will boldly proclaim), many will return to Old Testament / Old Covenant worship and reinstate the sacrificial system.  Then, as a nation, it appears that they will perform the ultimate spurning of Jesus and embrace the antichrist as their “messiah”.  It is the critical refining test for Israel, and we are told that 2/3 will fail and only 1/3 will pass:

“In the whole land, declares the Lord,
    two thirds shall be cut off and perish,
    and one third shall be left alive.
 And I will put this third into the fire,
    and refine them as one refines silver,
    and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
    and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Zechariah 13:8-9 ESV

Messianic Expectation

I am fully convinced that the Antichrist will attempt to present himself as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah.  Remember that satan knows the Biblical prophecies, and will try to duplicate them well enough to fool even the elect – if it were possible (Matthew 24:24).

I want you to consider the following Messianic tradition, bolding mine:

If necessary, Messiah ben Joseph will wage war against the evil forces and die in combat with the enemies of God and Israel. According to Saadia Gaon the need for his appearance will depend on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people. In the Sefer Zerubbabel and later writings, after his death a period of great calamities will befall Israel. God will then resurrect the dead and usher in the Messianic Era of universal peace. Messiah ben David will reign as a Jewish king during the period when God will resurrect the dead.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_ben_Joseph

The Jewish expectation is that there WILL be future prophetic wars that will result in the ushering in of the Messianic Era of “universal peace”. To examine this further, we go to this article, aish.com – Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus:

 Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies

What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)

Specifically, the Bible says he will:
Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world – on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.

Source: http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

When God intervenes and saves Israel from certain destruction at the hands of Gog, “someone” will arrive promising this age of peace.  He will allow the Temple to be rebuilt, the Jews to return to Israel, and attempt to unite humanity in religion.  At first, this will probably look a lot like Judaism.  However, we know that at some point, this “someone” will claim to be “god” himself.  Many Jews will clue in at that point and flee, but many will not…

Messiah-Ben-Joseph-David.jpg

For more discussion on Messianic Expectation and how many Jews will play into the antichrist’s hand, please see these posts:

Christian Expectation

I wish I didn’t have to include this section.  Unfortunately, within the Christian religion, there is much false teaching.  Through the letters to the churches in Revelation Chapters 2&3, we understand that there are some true believers in every church – some who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.  The sad reality, though, is that many – millions – who go by the name “Christian” are not saved and will not be taken in the rapture.  The rapture is akin to salvation in that everyone who would go to heaven if they died that day will be taken; there is no partial rapture.

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Recent studies have shown that only 31% of Americans claiming to be “born again” actually have a biblical worldview.  The numbers go down from there, with only 2% of those in the Catholic religion having a biblical worldview.

biblical worldview.jpg

Source: https://www.culturefaith.com/groundbreaking-survey-by-acfi-reveals-how-many-american-adults-have-a-biblical-worldview/

It is clear that not everyone who calls Jesus, “Lord”, is truly known by Him, and these will be left behind at the time of the rapture (Matthew 7:21-23).  Many in this “left behind” group do not have a good grasp on the scriptures and are lacking in discernment.  They may know that “Jesus is coming someday”, and without searching the scriptures for themselves, many will fall pray to the deception.  Within Catholicism in particular, there is much false teaching surrounding the end times:

Secular Expectation

Strange things seem to be going on in the world, which is prompting news media and citizens alike to think about the coming “apocalypse” (which means “revelation”). Almost all world religions point to some type of climactic event of either enlightenment, ushering in a time of peace, or cataclysmic ending.

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None of these compare to the detail and volume of prophecy found in the Bible, which clearly spells out what will happen at the End. Things are going to continue on as always, until suddenly they don’t.

The entertainment industry has flooded us with “apocalyptic” movies for decades now.  Starting out rather demurely in the 1950’s, shows now blatantly portray scenes from the book of Revelation – albeit with “doctored” details.  Satan has his own version of how he wants things to play out.

prometheus_1.jpg

Satan, of course, is fully aware that the end is near.  His ‘mystery of lawlessness’ is already at work and the world is being bombarded with imagery mocking God’s Word.  Satan has primed humanity to accept his explanation of the Ezekiel 38-39 war, the disappearance of millions of Christians, and worldwide calamity.  As soon as the Restrainer (Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ) is removed, satan will act on his plan.

Conclusion

As I have stated previously, it’s impossible to overemphasize the significance that God Himself is arranging the Ezekiel 38-39 war exactly according to His schedule.  God has one final test for Israel.  He will use the battle of Gog / Magog as a challenge for both Israel and the nations.  It will be deliberately presented so that it can be interpreted by Israel as the final war (Battle of Armageddon).

This belief might come from naivite, but it also might be part of the satanic deception that will come upon the earth after the rapture of the church.  This deception likely involves the antichrist attempting to “fulfill” Biblical prophecy about the Messiah and Messianic Kingdom.   This deception would include that the events marking the beginning of the Day of the Lord (including the Ezekiel 38-39 war and the events of the Seals – Seal 6 in particular) are actually marking the inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom.

Satan will attempt to usher in his own “golden age” – thinking to change the course of the end:

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law – Daniel 7:25 ESV

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV

When God intervenes, Israel will look for the Messiah to inaugurate the Messianic Kingdom.  A “messiah” will most certainly appear.  Will Israel accept or reject the ultimate false messianic figure?

We know that God’s truth will prevail, and the true battle of Armageddon will come at the end of the antichrist’s rule, approximately 7 years after the rapture of the church.


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Contrasting Ezekiel 38-39, Armageddon, and the Last Battle

How Many Gogs Are There?

Target Israel: Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39

Target Israel: The Battle of Armageddon

The Last Battle (EVER!)

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

armageddon deception

 

Contrasting Ezekiel 38-39, Armageddon, and the Last Battle

While there are some similarities between the battles described in Ezekiel 38-39, Armageddon, and the Last Battle, there are too many differences for these to be describing the same events.

Gog Magog Armageddon Last Battle Part 1.JPG

Gog Magog Armageddon Last Battle Part 2.JPG

Now let’s examine the differences between the wars of Gog/Magog, Armageddon, and the Final Battle in greater detail (summaries consolidated from The Silence is Broken! by Douglas Berner):

The Battle of Gog in Ezekiel 38-39:

  • God Himself hooks the jaws of Gog and leads him into position
  • Gog doesn’t operate by deception, but by military might.
  • Gog is on the scene for a very short period of time – God intervenes immediately upon his invasion.
  • There is no description of satan empowering Gog, or even influencing him.
  • God destroys him on the mountains of Israel.
  • Gog is buried in a mass unmarked grave with his armies in the valley of “Hamon-gog.” (Ezekiel 39:11)
  • There is no mention at all of: satan, the antichrist, the false prophet, deceiving spirits, demons, the mark of the beast, a beast, 10 kings, a 7-year covenant, two witnesses, 144,000 sealed Jews, the Jewish Temple, a sacrificial system of worship, an abomination of desolation, drying up of Euphrates river, Megiddo, Armageddon, a Jewish remnant, war against saints, signs and wonders, the church, Jesus Christ appearing, a messiah, judgment, lake of fire.
  • This battle involves a specific but limited alliance.
  • Israel will be dwelling securely, or at least perceive to be so, at the time of the invasion.
  • The direction of attack will be primarily from the north.
  • There is mild protest from a few nations against this attack, either out of concern for Israel or out of their own fear of Gog’s intentions.
  • Gog’s intent is to “take a spoil”.
  • There is emphasis on the mountains of Israel, and Gog’s forces will fall on the mountains.
  • Gog and his armies are slain through a combination of supernatural judgments (earthquake, fire, brimstone, hailstones, torrential rain, pestilence).
  • This battle is followed by a very specific 7 month cleanup period.
  • This battle is followed by a very specific 7 year time period for burning the weapons of Gog’s armies.

The Battle of Armageddon:

  • The antichrist (“lawless one”) operates by deception. (2 Thessalonians 2)
  • The antichrist will emerge on the scene as a leader following the rapture of the church.  A covenant with Israel is also confirmed at or around this time.  The covenant will last 7 years.  3.5 years into the covenant with Israel, the antichrist is granted authority by God over the nations (the whole world) for 3.5 years (Revelation 13:5).  Thus he is on the world scene for 7+ years. (Revelation 13:7)
  • The antichrist will be empowered by satan
  • Jesus defeats the antichrist in the plains of Megiddo, or alternately, in and around Jerusalem
  • Isaiah 14 and Daniel 7:11 state that the antichrist will be trampled by his troops and killed in the panic that ensues when Jesus appears.
  • His body will be captured and resurrected from the dead into an immortal body (as we all will be), and cast alive into the lake of fire – to burn forever.  The beast (antichrist) and false prophet are the only ones to receive their eternal judgment at this time.
  • All the armies of the world are involved.  There is no mention of Gog or his alliances.
  • Israel will not be dwelling securely – this is the time of Jacob’s trouble – at this time Jerusalem will be taken, the houses plundered, and women raped.
  • There is no focus on attack coming from the north.  It describes the kings of the East coming across the dried up Euphrates river.
  • There is no protest against this battle from any nation – they are all involved.
  • The beast (antichrist)’s intention is to face Jesus.  There is no goal of taking spoil – they have already plundered Jerusalem and collected from the nations of the world.
  • There is emphasis on the plain of Megiddo and the armies will fall on the plain.
  • The antichrist and his armies are slain directly by Christ at His Second Coming.
  • There is no mention of a clean-up period or procedure following Armageddon.
  • There is no mention of burning weapons following Armageddon.
  • Armageddon is directly followed by a 75 day period before the Millennial Kingdom begins.  (This likely allows for the Sheep & Goats judgment as to who will enter the Kingdom; as well as purification of the Temple.)  Interestingly, there are 75 days between Yom Kippur (one of the 7 Feasts of God) and Hanukkah (feast of lights celebrating the re-dedication of the Second Temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, a “type” or “prequel” to the antichrist).

The Last Battle

  • Satan will come out to deceive the nations and direct the rebellion at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
  • All nations, from the “four corners of the earth” are involved; not just “from the north” or the specific coalition mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39.
  • The nations march up over the broad plain of the earth to surround Jerusalem (the beloved city).  This broad plain is created at the time of the Second Coming via the largest earthquake ever; Jerusalem will be rebuilt at that time during the Millennial Kingdom.  Currently, Jerusalem is not on a broad plain.
  • The battle of Gog/Magog is specifically said to be on the mountains of Israel, and the last battle is specifically said to be on the broad plain.
  • No mention of a covenant.
  • No mention of rulers or kings or generals, “Gog and Magog” refer to the “nations” (synonymous with gentiles).
  • There is no mention of spoil as a goal.
  • There is no clean up procedure or burning of weapons; fire simply comes down from heaven and consumes the armies.
  • No mention is made of Gog’s death; satan is cast into the lake of fire and the great white throne judgement follows.

Although there are several small similarities, the differences between the three battles are too significant and glaringly obvious for them to be the same.  These are 3 separate events.


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Overview of Coming Prophetic Wars

The Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

How Many Gogs Are There?

Ezekiel 38-39 Verse by Verse Discussion

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39

Target Israel: The Battle of Armageddon

The Last Battle (EVER!)

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

comparing battles

Ezekiel 38-39, Verse by Verse Discussion

I have a detailed summary of the Gog and Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39, but I do want to go through it verse by verse because it is such a critical prophetic piece.  I will provide links at the end of this post to the related discussions.

Ezekiel 38:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog [the leader, not his real name], of the land of Magog [Russia? Turkey?], the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal [Moscow and Tobolsk?], and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, [God is fully in control of the timing of this war and purposefully leads the leader and nations involved to do His will] and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. [The Hebrew words for these are pictorial words that describe their function, and representing them with modern weapons and machinery does not pose an interpretation issue] Persia, Cush, and Put [Iran, with Sudan or Ethopia, and Libya or Somalia] are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; [defensive equipment] Gomer [Turkey] and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah [Armenia or Turkey] from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you. [It is unclear who “all his hordes” and “many peoples” are.  It could possibly include all the nations bordering Israel, which would then include the Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 battles]

“Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. [This battle will be in preparation for a long time in advance.  One nation may do the invading, with the others providing a supportive defensive role?] After many days you will be mustered. [God will bring them together] In the latter years [near the end of the age] you will go against the land that is restored from war [unspecified which war, or how long it has been. Israel has seen several wars and is currently in a state of restoration from them], the land whose people were gathered from many peoples [Jews have been returning back to the homeland from all across the globe] upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste [the land, which had been barren, is now abundant]. Its people were brought out from the peoples [just as predicted in Ezekiel in the previous several chapters] and now dwell securely [this is the “betach” mentioned earlier, which can mean safely or securely, but can also mean carelessly], all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm. [swiftly and powerfully] You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. [this describes the sheer number of them, and hints at Israel’s risk of complete annihilation]

10 “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme [God will enter these thoughts in “Gog’s” mind on a specific day that He has planned, to fulfill His purposes] 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. [in Ezekiel’s day, all villages and towns had walls surrounding them to protect them.  This would be an unusual vision for him 2500 years ago, but is common for us today].  I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ [Israel, dwelling in “betach”] 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, [the human goal of this war is to plunder Israel’s resources; the recent discovery of massive amounts of oil in Israel may be a motivating factor] to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, [reflecting on the land that sat desolate for several thousand years but is now restored] and the people who were gathered from the nations [the Jews who have returned to Israel from around the globe, gathered invisibly by God Himself], who have acquired livestock and goods [their wealth], who dwell at the center of the earth [from God’s perspective, this is the focal spot on earth where He has staked out a claim for Himself].13 Sheba and Dedan [southwestern Arabia – possibly traders or merchants] and the merchants of Tarshish [Spain traditionally, but may represent all “younger” nations] and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’ [this may represent a weak protest against the invasion; or it may be a fear response by Arabia and “younger nations” that they may also be targeted at some point – it is clear to US the scope of the invasion, but it may not be clear to the world]

14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? [God reiterates that Israel will be dwelling in perceived safety.] 15 You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. [Russia, to the uttermost north, and the many peoples – some of them described, some of them anonymous in this account, a great and well equipped army] 16 You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land.   In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. [Here is the purpose for this battle – so that the nations (all the world) will know the Lord is God]

17 “Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? [This is a rhetorical question. Gog has no supernatural control over when he invades Israel or how his invasion progresses.  There is no description of satan’s powers at work in this prophecy, unlike the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation.]  18 But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. [God defines the day Gog comes against Israel as the day His wrath is roused – reference – Day of the Lord] 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. [note: great earthquake, starts in Israel] 20 The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. [every living thing on the face of earth and in the atmosphere will be affected] And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. [all the mountains will be moved, cliffs and walls broken] 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. [there will be confusion and the army will turn against itself] 22 With pestilence and bloodshed [associated with the spread of infectious diseases, blood may refer to the death toll, this is similar to Seal 4] I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones [severe flooding, destructive hail – similar to Trumpet 1 judgment], fire and sulfur [volcanic eruptions, or possibly military weapons, lightning accompanying the rain and hail – similar to Trumpet 1 and perhaps Seal 6 judgment]. [God’s judgment comes in three sets of plagues: pestilence and bloodshed, torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur.  Note the contrast of both fire and ice in the judgments.] 23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. [this is the purpose of the war, to reveal God’s face and remove His silence]

Compare Ezekiel 38:18-23 with Seal 6 in Revelation 6:12-17:

12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Also compare with Trumpet 1 in Revelation 8:7:

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

Ezekiel 39:

“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.  And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. [Again, God affirms that He is the one directing this entire process on a very specific timeline.  This is opposed to the final battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, which satan directs.] Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. [The war against Israel won’t even really be able to begin] You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. [Emphasis is on the mountains of Israel, where they will be gathered] I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. [instead of humans offering clean animals in sacrifice, humans will be a sacrifice to the birds of prey and beasts of the field – ceremonially unclean animals.  Note the connection here to Luke 17:37 – the first of the sacrificial feasts God prepares for the birds of prey.  This places a strong connection between the rapture at the same time as or followed immediately by the Gog Magog war.] You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord. [God will also send judgment on the countries these people came from – the land of Russia and the coastlands – those who stayed behind will not be spared from wrath]

And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. [Once again, God’s purpose for this war is to make His Holy Name known in Israel] And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. [God will make His Name known in all the nations of the world as well.  Jack Kelley states it well – God will poke His head through the fabric of the heavens and yell – “I’m still here!!!”] Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. [It is a certainty and will be done exactly as God has planned.] That is the day of which I have spoken. [This can be none other than the Day of the Lord, which is spoken about throughout the entire Old Testament through the prophets – Isaiah 13:6, 9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 3:14; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7, 1:14; Zechariah 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:2]

“Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years,10 so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God.

11 “On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. [Gog will fall and be buried with his armies in a massive unmarked grave] It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. [Note that SEVEN MONTHS it will take to bury the dead] 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God. [Note that ALL the people will participate in the cleanup] 14 They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. 15 And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. 16 (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land. [The detailed cleanup is interesting as it is the only time in scripture a cleanup is mentioned.  Some draw the conclusion that there may be contamination of some sort – nuclear, chemical, or biological.]

17 “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. [Again referencing Luke 17:37] 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God.

21 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. [God will be glorified in Israel and among the nations; the main purpose for this war.  The partial blindness of Israel is removed; Romans 11:25 – again connecting the rapture of the church to the same time or immediately before this war]23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. [God explains the reason for His silence.  Interesting connections to Ezekiel’s 430 days of laying and the purpose of the Church Age – the silent age of faith.]

The Lord Will Restore Israel

[What God does not include in this prophecy is the gap between verse 24 and verse 25.  In Ezekiel 38:1 – 39:24, God has revealed His face to national Israel.  He is silent no more – how will they respond?  God is giving them one more chance to receive their true Messiah – Jesus (Yeshua).  As with His first coming, the offer is genuine.  Inserted in this space is the 70th week of Daniel, the time of testing and purification for Israel (see Daniel 9-12 and Revelation 6-19). However, the majority of Israel will NOT see the gap and will try to usher in the kingdom under a false messiah figure – the antichrist – during the “Tribulation”.  This Gog war will create an economic, political, and religious vacuum that will beg to be filled.  We are told in Daniel, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation exactly “who” will step up to fill this vacuum.  Once the 7-year testing is complete, we continue on in Ezekiel with verse 25, which will usher in the true Messianic Kingdom. ]

25 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel [the process of restoring the whole house of Israel begins now, and will be completed at the end of the Day of the Lord – the process will take approximately 7 years to complete (possibly up to 10 years).  This is the regathering of ALL the Jews, which occurs at the Second Coming of Christ], and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. [The fulfillment of Matthew 24:31 – 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.] 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.” [God’s Spirit will be poured out on them at their national SPIRITUAL rebirth, at the Second Coming of Christ]


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39

When God Intervenes (Douglas Berner) – I recommend this book for multiple reasons, but it has a very good discussion of the Gog Magog war.

The Silence is Broken!  God Hooks Ezekiel’s Gog & Magog (Douglas Berner) – If you are really interested in Ezekiel 38-39, this is an exhaustive discussion of it!

Douglas Berner has several short articles available online.

For an alternative interpretation, Beginning and End offers this exposition.

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

gog_magog

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39

When staring at individual threads, we are blinded to the overall tapestry that is being woven.  When putting together the threads of these three upcoming prophetic wars, a startling big picture emerges.

God’s Silence:

Psalm 83God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!” (Psalm 83:1 ESV)
Ezekiel 39“I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword.  I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.” (Ezekiel 39:23-24 ESV)
 
The wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 will occur when God has been silent / hiding His face from Israel.  We know from the duration of the Church Age that He has been “silent” (in the Old Testament sense) for close to 2000 years.  Once the time of Jacob’s Trouble begins (what is commonly known as “the tribulation”), God will be actively intervening on the earth through the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments.  It seems that these 3 wars must then occur before the break in God’s “silence”.

Israel’s Condition:

Isaiah 17 – “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge.” (Isaiah 17:10 ESV)
Ezekiel 38the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8 ESV)
Before these wars occur we know that Israel has to be a nation, and from Ezekiel we know that the Jews will have been regathered from among the peoples (nations of the world).  This regathering so far has been physically and nationally only – Israel is still spiritually dead.  They have forgotten God.  God is about to break His silence and wake them up!  This establishes a possible starting point of anytime after 1948, but before spiritual restoration (presumably at or right after the rapture of the church – as per Romans 11:25).

Crafty Plans and Evil Schemes:

 Psalm 83 – They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. (Psalm 81:3 ESV)
Ezekiel 38On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme. (Ezekiel 38:10 ESV)
Isaiah 17This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.” (Isaiah 17:14 ESV)
Psalm 83 – “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.” (Psalm 83:12 ESV)
Ezekiel 38 –  …to seize spoil and carry off plunderall its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’ (Ezekiel 38:12 ESV)
In Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39, the main goal is to plunder Israel.  In Psalm 83, they wish for Israel to cease being a nation completely, so that they may take possession of the pasturelands of God.  Ezekiel 38 specifically mentions that God places the thoughts in Gog’s head according to His timing and purpose.

Participants in the Wars:

  • “many nations”, “the peoples” (Isaiah 17) – deliberately enigmatic
  • “all his hordes – many peoples are with you” (Ezekiel 38) – deliberately enigmatic
Inner ring of nations surrounding Israel:
  • Syria (Isaiah 17, Psalm 83)
  • Jordan (Isaiah 17, Psalm 83)
  • West Bank (Isaiah 17)
  • Saudi Arabia (Psalm 83)
  • Sinai Peninsula (Psalm 83)
  • Coastal Area of Gaza / Gaza Strip (Psalm 83)
  • Lebanon (Psalm 83)
  • Iraq (Psalm 83)
Outer ring of nations involved (Ezekiel 38-39):
  • Magog – Traditionally Russia or possibly Turkey  (Turkey is in much closer proximity;  however, Turkey displays no history of similar might or leadership the way Russia does).  This could be any land “from the north”.  Other contenders could be Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
  • Meshech and Tubal – Russian cities (Moscow?  Tobolsk?), or cities in Turkey, depending on Magog’s identification.
  • Persia – Iran
  • Cush – Sudan or Ethiopia
  • Put – Libya and possibly Somalia or Algeria and Tunesia
  • Gomer – Turkey, or possibly parts of Southern Russia or the Ukraine; Gomel region of Belarus
  • Beth-togarmah – Turkey or Armenia; Azerbaijan, Georgia

Purpose of God’s Intervention:

 Isaiah 17 In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 17:7 ESV)
Psalm 83 Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord.  Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;  let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that you alone,  whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:16-18 ESV)
Ezekiel 38 – In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:16 ESV)
Ezekiel 38 – So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 38:23 ESV)
Ezekiel 39 – they shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 39:6 ESV)
Ezekiel 39 – And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. (Ezekiel 39:7 ESV)
Ezekiel 39 – And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. (Ezekiel 39:7 ESV)
Ezekiel 39 – I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment (Ezekiel 39:21 ESV)
Ezekiel 39 –  The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. (Ezekiel 39:22 ESV)
God is very clear that His purpose for intervening in all three of these wars is to vindicate His Name, to declare that He is God, to show His greatness and holiness, and to turn all eyes on Him.   This purpose is not only to spiritually awaken the house of Israel, but also to reveal Himself to the nations involved.

Speed of God’s Intervention:

Isaiah 17In the evening, sudden terror!  Before the morning, they are gone! (Isaiah 17:14 ESV)
Isaiah 17 indicates that the intervention from God will come suddenly – in the span of an evening/night.  In Ezekiel 38, God arises in jealously and wrath and refers to “in that day”, which is the imminent start of the Day of the Lord.  Destruction will be sudden.

God’s Specific Intervention:

Isaiah 17 –  Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. (Isaiah 17:13 ESV)
Psalm 83 O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. (Psalm 83:13 ESV)  
Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 are interestingly connected by chaff driven by wind.
Psalm 83“As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane.” (Psalm 83:14 ESV)
Ezekiel 38“On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.  The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence.  And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground.  I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God.  Every man’s sword will be against his brother.  With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur.” (Ezekiel 38:19-22 ESV)
Ezekiel 39“I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord”. (Ezekiel 39:6 ESV)
Asaph’s request in Psalm 83 is for God to consume Israel’s enemies with fire, flame, tempest, and hurricane.  This is symbolic language, but it is surprisingly paralleled in Ezekiel 38, where God rains down wrath of fire and sulfur, torrential rains and hailstones.  There will also be a great earthquake that starts in Israel and spreads globally.  People will fight against their own troops, and pestilence (infectious disease?  plagues?) will occur.  The judgment will not only be at the battle scene, but also upon the nations who sent the troops.

How Israel is Affected:

Isaiah 17 – In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. (Isaiah 17:4 ESV)

While God arises to protect Israel, and they will be definitively victorious, it seems that Israel may experience some losses and destruction.

Reference to “That Day”:

Isaiah 17 – “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade” (Isaiah 17:4 ESV)
Isaiah 17 – “In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 17:7)
Isaiah 17 – “In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth.” (Isaiah 17:9 ESV)
Ezekiel 38 – “…on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger.” (Ezekiel 38:18 ESV)
Ezekiel 38 – “On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 38:19)
Ezekiel 39 – “That is the day of which I have spoken.” (Ezekiel 39:8 ESV)
Ezekiel 39 – “On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel.” (Ezekiel 39:11 ESV)
“That Day”, as referred to in Scripture, is almost always a reference to the Day of the Lord.  In Ezekiel 39, God further clarifies that this is exactly “the day of which I have spoken” – the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

Isaiah 13 describes the Day of the Lord in a broad sweep, and has it beginning thus:

Listen, a noise on the mountains,
    like that of a great multitude!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
    like nations massing together!
The Lord Almighty is mustering
    an army for war.
They come from faraway lands,
    from the ends of the heavens—
the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—
    to destroy the whole country.

Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
Because of this, all hands will go limp,
    every heart will melt with fear.
Terror will seize them,
    pain and anguish will grip them;
    they will writhe like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at each other,
    their faces aflame.

“That Day” begins when God Himself musters an army for war on the mountains of Israel.

Conclusion:

Will the prophetic wars of Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39 occur simultaneously?  Will they follow one rapidly after another?  Will they inaugerate the Day of the Lord and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble?  It seems from a scripture analysis that these are all good possibilities.  The stage is set for anytime fulfillment.

Further Resources:

Target Israel: The Destruction of Damascus – Isaiah 17

Target Israel: Arab-Israeli Promised Land War of Psalm 83

Target Israel: Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model


Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

Image result for war

Overview of Coming Prophetic Wars

Wars, and rumors of war, strike black marks along the entire span of human history.  That humans fight with each other is not unique.

Israel, as God’s chosen nation and people, is the central focus of Bible Prophecy.  Throughout the Old Testament we are presented with prophecies and fulfillments of many wars involving Israel as she moves in to occupy and preserve her Promised Land.

When we study what is written in the Bible, there are a few prophetic wars that still remain to be fulfilled.  These are detailed in Matthew 24/Luke 21/Mark 13, Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39, and Revelation 19-20.  We are on the verge of seeing these prophecies from 2500 years ago fulfilled in our day!

Nation Rising Against Nation

 One of the first true “Birth Pains” that will indicate that the “time of the end” has finally arrived is Nation Rising Against Nation, and Kingdom Rising Against Kingdom.
Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  (Luke 21:10 ESV)
These phrases (“nation rising against nation”, and “kingdom against kingdom”) were a Hebrew idiom meaning war involving the entire known region.  Since the entire world will be involved in the “time of the end”, it would suggest that the “nation rising against nation” mentioned by Jesus would most likely be along the lines of what we would consider World War 3.  It will involve many nations.  World Wars 1&2 did not qualify as fulfilling this sign because they occurred before the rebirth of Israel as a nation (see the Fig Tree Sign) and did not include the accompanying “birth pain signs“.

The Destruction of Damascus – Isaiah 17

 Isaiah 17 states that it is a prophecy against Damascus:
 Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. (Isaiah 17:1 ESV)
The prophecy in Isaiah 17 points to the complete destruction of Damascus, never to be restored again. This is noteworthy because presently the city is recognized as the world’s longest continually inhabited city.  Other cities (not specifically defined) are affected as well, and will be abandoned and desolated.

Isaiah refers to “that day” three times in this chapter.  “That Day” is generally used in scripture to specifically refer to the “Day of the Lord”.  Here, “that day” connects the destruction of Damascus with the “day” when the “glory of Jacob fades” and only “gleanings” remain.  This is consistent with the Day of the Lord, or the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, where 2/3 of the Israelites will perish and 1/3 will be brought through the fires of testing (Zechariah 13:8-9).  The Day of the Lord is not a single day, but a timespan of up to 7 years.  This does not suggest the battle lasts for 7 years, but that the effects of it might – especially when coupled with all the other events of the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

Jeremiah 49:23-27 contains a prophecy concerning Damascus that connects its’ destruction with “that day” where they will “melt in fear”, and will be seized in panic when anguish and sorrows take hold of her as of a woman in labor.  There are strong connections between a woman in labor and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Revelation 12:1-5, Isaiah 26, Isaiah 66).  Jeremiah is certainly talking about the same event mentioned in Isaiah 17, which seems to be connected to the start of the “Tribulation” (Daniel’s 70th Week / the Day of the Lord).

Isaiah 17 also mentions that in “that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel”.  This is consistent with the purpose of the entire Day of the Lord, from start to finish – God will use judgment to get His people’s attention and draw them back to Him.

The “many nations” and “peoples” who are attempting to plunder Israel are “driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale” in the span of one evening/night.  It seems that the enemies flee, and are not destroyed.


The Arab-Israeli Promised Land War of Psalm 83

Psalm 83 is a prayer of the prophet Asaph.  In it, he requests for God to break His silence towards Israel and protect her.  He mentions a specific group of nations wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the map.  The nations include Edom, Ishmaelites, Moab, Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre, and Asshur.  Modern day equivalents seem to be Egypt, Jordan/Palestinians, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.

This war appears to have been at least partially fulfilled in the Six-Day War of 1967.  The exact nations described in Psalm 83 issued a coordinated attack against Israel, and Israel was victorious.

It’s also possible that the complete fulfillment, or a dual fulfillment, of this war is yet future.  An interesting detail noted in Obadiah is that it places the battle against Edom (included in Psalm 83) near the Day of the Lord – “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you;  your deeds shall return on your own head.” (Obad 1:15 ESV).  The reference of being near the Day of the Lord could refer to 1967, or it could yet be future.  The Day of the Lord was drawing “near” upon all the nations 50 years ago… but it is certainly nearer now.


Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 detail a very specific war against Israel.  For it to occur, Israel must be existing in a state of “peace and safety” (“betach”).  What this is exactly is debatable, but it seems that it involves either some overconfidence or lack of awareness (carelessness) on Israel’s part.  She will not be actively at war when these nations attack her, and she will be caught by surprise.

A future leader or supreme commander, Gog (the spiritual entity behind the geographical region of “Magog”), of the land of Magog (Russia?  Turkey?), will oversee a vast military alliance which will be heavily armed.  The alliance appears to be primarily Islamic, and their goal will be to overtake Israel’s resources.  It seems that Russia (Turkey?) will be joined by  Iran and Islamic nations from north and east Africa (Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and others), plus Islamic nations of the Middle East and Central Asia (Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and others).  There may be mild protest to this invasion from unspecified nations (USA?), but there will be no intervention in support of Israel and Israel may not even have time to defend itself.

God will completely destroy the invading armies and send destruction to their homelands through a global earthquake, internal chaos and infighting, pestilence, torrential rain, hail, fire and brimstone.  What begins as divine judgment on the troops surrounding Israel  will expand to include the whole world.  (Note there are strong connections to Seal 6 in Revelation 6 as well as the first Trumpet Judgment).

Basically, God will raise Israel’s enemies up against her in such a way as to guarantee her destruction, just so that He can prevent her from being destroyed.

God breaks His silence with Israel for the purpose of announcing to an unbelieving world – Israel herself and all the nations – that He is still here!  He intends to fulfill His covenant promises and reclaim Israel as His people and His land.  God mentions this purpose 70 times in the book of Ezekiel; four times in these two chapters alone, to ensure He gets His point across.

It’s impossible to overemphasize the significance that God Himself is arranging this war exactly according to His schedule.  God has one final test for Israel.  He will use Gog / Magog as a challenge for both Israel and the nations.  It will be deliberately presented so that it can be interpreted by Israel as the final war (Battle of Armageddon).  Will Israel then turn to Jesus as the true Messiah, or will she embrace the anti-Messiah that satan will raise up?

Gog, the commander, will die upon the mountains of Israel along with his armies.  After God intervenes and destroys the army, Israel will spend 7 months cleansing the land and burying the dead.  Israel will also be able to use the invaders’ weapons as some type of fuel source and will plunder their equipment.  They will do so for a period of 7 years (but there may be more than 7 years’ supply available).  At the 7 year point, something will happen to intervene with this use if the supply has not run out (I would suggest the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).


The Antichrist Rises to Power

I believe the 3 wars detailed above (Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39), in addition to the World Wars (Nation Rising Against Nation), occur in very close proximity to the rapture of the true church (those who have been “born again” through the blood of Jesus Christ).  However, they may possibly be included in the description of the Antichrist’s rise to power.  I am confident that it will become very clear at the time it occurs!

The details of the Antichrist’s rise to power is found in Daniel chapters 7, 11, and Revelation chapter 13.

A major calamity will come upon the world at some point, creating a power vacuum.  I believe this will be the rapture of the true church, and Seals 1-7 opening in its’ wake.  Out of the power vacuum will arise 4 kingdoms.  These 4 kingdoms will burst forth suddenly upon the world and are described as:

A Lion – which will rise up swiftly and strongly, then be toned down considerably.  It’s possible this is parallel to the King of the South, who attacks the antichrist but will be subdued by him (Daniel 11:40).

A Bear – a ferocious kingdom acting out of perceived threat.  It will have three initial great conquests.  This kingdom may be tied to the King of the North (Daniel 11:40).

A Leopard with Four Heads – a very swiftly rising kingdom with 4 main leaders or nations. It may “lay in wait” patiently before suddenly rising up extremely quickly.  Perhaps this kingdom is associated with the King of the East, or “news” from the east that troubles the antichrist (Daniel 11:44).  It may make an agreement with the “King of the North”.

A Beast – exceedingly strong kingdom with no hint of weakness. This coalition of nations may involve the west, plus a scattering of remnant nations not incorporated into the other 3 Kingdoms. It will initially be a coalition of 10 leaders/nations.  An eleventh leader will rise up, replacing three of the original members.   It would appear that this eleventh leader, the antichrist, will attempt to fulfill the messianic expectations of the Jews (Ezekiel 34:25; Isaiah 54:10).

The Beast Kingdom will Devour the Other Kingdoms – In Daniel chapter 11, we are given a description of how this fourth Beast kingdom devours the other three kingdoms until ultimately the antichrist rules the entire world.  The antichrist, through the power of Satan, will succeed in conquering the world.  His wars are detailed in verses 40-45; he may use generous diplomacy (rewards) in addition to actual fighting.  We have now arrived at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week – halfway through the “Tribulation”.  The Antichrist is about to proclaim himself to be “god”.

The Lion-Bear-Leopard-Beast Kingdom – I want you to note that if you take the beasts in Daniel 7 – a lion with wings, a bear, a four-headed leopard, and a ten-horned beast – and combine them all together, you get a seven-headed, ten-horned beast with lion, bear, and leopard characteristics.  And, this just happens to be exactly what we see when the antichrist declares to be “god”:

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.  And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth.  (Revelation 13:1-2 ESV)

Daniel 7:21-25 and 12:1 describes the turning point where the Antichrist’s Kingdom has now taken over the entire world.  He will declare himself to be “god” at this point, which begins the time of “greatest tribulation” for followers of Jesus Christ.  This is also detailed in Revelation chapter 13.

The antichrist is granted 1260 days of authority by God.  After this, his reign will come to an end at the appointed time  – at the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Both Daniel’s and John’s visions confirm that the judgment of the Beast occurs at the end of his rule, right before the Millennial Kingdom begins.  This is the next major battle – the Battle of Armageddon.


Target Israel: The Battle of Armageddon

 The battle of Armageddon is detailed in Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14.  It comes at the end of the time of “Tribulation” (Day of the Lord / 70th week of Daniel).

The antichrist, the false prophet, satan (the dragon), and their deceiving spirits collect a vast army from ALL the functioning nations of the world.  The antichrist, empowered by satan, likely deceives the world into believing he is the “true messiah”, or the “true god”.  In order for his rule to be complete, or for humanity to evolve spiritually (or whatever he’s going to claim), he will claim something about humanity needing to collectively fight against and defeat Jesus.  It’s the ultimate battle between good and evil, the climax of the age of humanity.

The Euphrates river appears to dry up to allow the “kings from the east” access.  This is done under the authority and at the command of God as indicated in Zechariah 14.  The antichrist and his armies assemble in a Valley called Armageddon.  In Hebrew, this word is Har-Magedone, meaning “mount” or “hill” called Megiddo.  A possible location is the hill country surrounding the plain of Meggido, about 100km north of Jerusalem.  It’s also possible that the Battle of Armageddon is in and around the end-times city of Jerusalem.  This would correlate with the destruction of Mystery Babylon, which appears to be the end-times city of Jerusalem.  This connection is made in Zechariah 14, when the Lord gathers all nations against Jerusalem to battle.

Since we have been told that the antichrist is given exactly 1260 days of authority over the nations, and this authority begins at the “abomination of desolation” when he sets himself up as god in the Jewish Temple, this “Battle of Armageddon” would seem to occur 1260 days after the antichrist claims to be god.  It can also be calculated as 2520 days after a confirmation of a covenant with Israel (either a peace/land type covenant made with the antichrist or false prophet, or perhaps a re-confirmation of the Abrahamic covenant by God Himself after Ezekiel 38-39).

Once the nations are gathered, Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven in power and great glory, mounted on a white horse (Revelation 19).  He comes in judgment.  First, the beast (antichrist) and the false prophet are thrown alive into the lake of fire (Daniel 7). Then, satan is thrown into the abyss and chained for 1000 years – the duration of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

After the fallen supernatural beings have been dealt with, Jesus will defeat the human armies gathered at Armageddon with one swift fiery blast from His mouth:  “And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse”  (Rev 19).  The sword is the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God.  It’s not going to be a good death – “And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.”  (Zechariah 14:12-13 ESV).  


 The Last Battle (EVER!)

At the very end of the Millennial Kingdom rule of Jesus Christ, there will be a final uprising against Him.  Fire will come down from heaven and immediately consume the armies gathered against Jesus.  This battle will occur around 3000 AD so won’t concern anyone alive today 🙂

Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Nation Rising Against Nation, Kingdom Rising Against Kingdom – WW3

Target Israel: The Destruction of Damascus – Isaiah 17

Target Israel: Arab-Israeli Promised Land War of Psalm 83

Target Israel: Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39

Triumph: The Beast (Antichrist) Rises to Power

Target Israel: The Battle of Armageddon

The Last Battle (EVER!)

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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Triumph: The Beast (Antichrist) Rises to Power

The Book of Daniel clearly describes the future Antichrist’s rise to power.  This man will likely claim to be the Jewish “messiah”.  The Jews are expecting their “messiah” to fight wars for them and win… and that is exactly what the antichrist will do.  God will allow this for the specific purpose of testing Israel.  Will they follow the true Messiah – Jesus Christ – or the false messiah who comes in his own name?

I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.  (John 5:43 ESV)

The book of Daniel contains a number of prophecies.  Some were fulfilled so accurately in the 600 years or so after it was written, that the book uniquely and clearly demonstrates the omniscience of God.  Some of Daniel’s prophecies are reserved for the “time of the end”.  I have no doubt that these will be fulfilled just as literally.

An overview of the Antichrist, as well as the 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel, will be discussed separately.  Here, we will examine Daniel’s prophecies of the false messiah (antichrist)’s rise to power.  Much of my understanding in this initially came from researching Chris White’s teachings in his book The False Christ, so I refer you there for further study (although we disagree on rapture timing and a number of other end times prophetic details).

I tend to see the antichrist’s rise to power as occurring AFTER the wars detailed in “nation rising against nation”, Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39.  However, it’s possible that these wars are part of this rise to power.  I’m confident that it will become apparent as it unfolds.  I’m certain that the antichrist’s rise to power begins after the rapture of the church.

Details of the Antichrist’s rise to power is given in Daniel Chapters 7 through 12.

Daniel 7 – The Vision of the Four Beasts

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. (Daniel 7:1 ESV)

In Daniel chapter 7, Daniel is given a vision of 4 beasts.  While the beasts are similar in some ways to his previous vision of the statue in Chapter 2, these visions are not describing the same kingdoms.  Daniel is told that these four great beasts are four kings (kingdoms) who shall arise out of the earth (v17).

The vision of the beasts is a picture of the four kingdoms that will be on the earth at the same time as one another, when the Antichrist begins his rise to power.  We know this, because at the end of the “little horn” (antichrist)’s rule, he is slain and thrown in the lake of fire (also detailed in Revelation 19).  Then the other beasts (kingdoms) are stripped of their authority, but are allowed to live for a time.  This could not be true if the kingdoms were successive in nature, rather than co-existing.  It is true that the antichrist beast does overwhelm and overtake these other kingdoms, and assimilate them into his own, but from this vision we see that they retain some semblance of existence at the Second Coming of Christ.

Despite the alarming vision, Daniel is reassured not to worry, because the Saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever and ever (V18; Revelation 2:26-27; Revelation 20:4).

There is no point in trying to identify these kingdoms in our current age, as they will not be revealed until the church age has closed.   The connections will be obvious when the time comes.  I understand that it’s interesting to speculate, but I feel that for the most part it is a very subjective and useless venture.  The world’s political climate, as well as its’ social and economic one, will MARKEDLY change with the opening of the seals and the rapture of the church.

The Four Kingdoms

In the near future, the world will be divided into four political kingdoms.  My anticipation is that the events surrounding the opening of the 7-Sealed Scroll of Revelation 6, including the rapture of the church, will unleash such catastrophe upon the world that a major power vacuum will result. It is impossible to overstate what a mess of devastation the world will be in at this time.

The establishment of these 4 Kingdoms will come after wars (WW3?  Isaiah 17?  Psalm 83?  Ezekiel 38-39?), natural disasters on a global scale, and economic collapse.

And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.  (Revelation 7:1 ESV)

THEN…

Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. (Daniel 7:2-3 ESV) 

Once the body of Christ is safely tucked up in heaven and the 144,000 elect Israelites have been sealed, the four winds are released by the four angels.  The winds immediately move to churn up the great sea.  The great sea is a reference to sinful humanity (Isaiah 17:12-13; Revelation 13:1,11; Revelation 17:1,15), and the four winds are used to represent the known world – which in our case, is global (Jeremiah 49:36; Daniel 8:8; Matthew 24:31).  This is when we will see four kingdoms burst forth suddenly upon the world, at the same time.  They should be identifiable by the specific characteristics given in the book of Daniel.

Interestingly, there is one passage in the Bible in which God describes Himself as having the characteristics of the animals in the kingdoms:

So I am to them like a lion; like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.  I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs; I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rip them open.

Hosea 13:7-8 ESV

I would anticipate that this reference confirms that God is fully in charge of the kings and kingdoms of this world.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding.

Daniel 2:20-21 ESV

Despite their evil intentions and actions, God will use these latter-days kingdoms to refine His people and draw them to Himself.

 

Kingdom 1 – The Lion

The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. (Daniel 7:4 ESV)

Chris White notes that a kingdom that is like a lion with the wings of an eagle would be brave, strong, and swift (2 Samuel 1:23 mentions that David and Jonathan were “swifter than eagles, stronger than lions”).  A kingdom acting swiftly, then getting its’ wings plucked off and being reduced to two feet, would symbolize it being slowed down quite considerably.  Likewise, having a lion’s “heart” of bravery and boldness transformed into a man’s mind, would actually be a downgrade for the beast (kingdom).  2 Samuel 17:10 and Proverbs 28:1 both refer to the heart of a lion indicating boldness.

To identify the Lion, look for a kingdom that rises up swiftly and boldly, then is reduced in speed and bravery.  It’s possible that this kingdom is tied in to the King of the South, who attacks the antichrist but will be subdued by him (Daniel 11:40).

Kingdom 2 – The Bear

And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ (Daniel 7:5 ESV)

Chris White notes that a kingdom that is like a bear would be ferocious.  A bear is most ferocious when deprived of her cubs (Hosea 13:7-8), or when someone comes between her and her cubs.  Perhaps the bear-kingdom will arise or act out of a perceived sense of threat to itself or its inhabitants.  That the kingdom is raised up on its side is passive, suggesting someone or something else is doing the raising.  Who raises it up?  Is it the winds of God? This kingdom is commanded to devour much flesh.  Who is doing the commanding?  Perhaps  the winds that stirred it up?  The three ribs likely represent three initial conquests by this kingdom.

To identify the Bear, look for a kingdom has three identifiable conquests.  Look for a ferocious kingdom that may be acting in self-defense, and that may be raised up with assistance from another kingdom or source.  It’s possible that this kingdom is tied in to the King of the North, who attacks the antichrist but will be overwhelmed by him (Daniel 11:40).

Kingdom 3 – The Leopard

 After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. (Daniel 7:6 ESV)

Again referring to Chris White’s research, a kingdom that is like a leopard with wings would be very swift indeed.  Scripture describes leopards as tearing into pieces (Jeremiah 5:6), swift (Habakkuk 1:8), and lying in wait for prey (Jeremiah 5:6, Hosea 13:7).  Note that this leopard has four heads.

To identify the Leopard, look for a kingdom that rises very quickly to power in a calculated and opportune way.  Look for a connection with 4 leaders or 4 main nations.  It may “lay in wait” patiently before suddenly rising up extremely quickly.  Perhaps this kingdom is associated with the King of the East, or “news” from the east that troubles the antichrist (Daniel 11:44).  It may make an agreement with the “King of the North”.

Kingdom 4 – The Beast

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.  I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel 7:7-8 ESV)

The fourth kingdom is described as exceedingly strong; no hint of weakness is mentioned.  It takes over the rest of the world that isn’t encompassed by the other three kingdoms.  It is different in some way than the other beasts that are in front of it.  (Chris White notes that the word used for “before” here is always used in a spatial sense, never a time sense).  That it has 10 horns suggests that it will arise with a coalition of 10 leaders.   An eleventh leader will rise up and replace 3 of these leaders, resulting in (presumably) an 8-leader kingdom.  This eleventh leader is identified as the Antichrist, or false messiah.

To identify the Fourth Beast, look for an invincibly strong kingdom.  It will initially be a coalition of 10 leaders/nations.  An eleventh leader will rise up, replacing three of the original members.   It would appear that this eleventh leader might be the one who will “make a strong covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27).  I have devoted an entire post on the covenant: The Covenant With Israel – Who Confirms It?

This coalition of nations may involve the west, plus a scattering of remnant nations not incorporated into the other 3 Kingdoms.

“Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet,  and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions.”

(Daniel 7:19-20 ESV)  

Daniel is horrified by the fourth “Beast” Kingdom, and asks for further clarification about it.  We are given a review of the fourth kingdom, and how it will be exceedingly strong.  So far, we have been given a description of four kingdoms that arise out of a sudden power vacuum.  One of these kingdoms is seemingly invincible, and out of it arises a strong leader.  This strong leader speaks “great things” and is “greater than his companions”.

The Fourth Kingdom Devours the Other Three Kingdoms

In Daniel chapter 11, we are given a description of how this fourth Beast kingdom devours the other three kingdoms until ultimately the antichrist rules the entire world.  This occurs leading up to the time when he will declare himself to be “god” at the “abomination of desolation” event.

“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.  He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.  He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.  He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price. “At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through.  He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites.  He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.  He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train.  But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction.  And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.

Daniel 11:36-45 ESV

In Daniel chapter 11, Daniel is given a vision which encompasses a broad period of time once again.  For our purposes, the verses prior to 11:36 in this chapter are now historical.  (The fulfillment of these was very specific and fascinating, and if you are interested in learning more see the Further Reading section at the bottom of this post).  Verses 36-45 describe the Antichrist and his conquests as he moves to world domination.

From this vision we learn that the antichrist will have unprecedented military success.  The ultimate endpoint in this success is that he will have global control and will declare himself to be “god”.  At that point he will prosper until God’s wrath has been completed, through the bowl judgments and the Battle of Armageddon.  We will discuss his “religion” in another post, but summarize here by saying that his accomplishments are done through the “god of fortresses”.  We are told in Revelation 13:2-4 that the beast (antichrist) gets his power from the dragon (satan):

And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.  One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (ESV)

This is confirmed in 2 Thessalonians 2:9:

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders (ESV)

The antichrist, through the power of Satan, will succeed in conquering the world.  His wars are detailed in verses 40-45; he may use generous diplomacy, such as peace and land treaties or rewards, in addition to actual fighting.

  1. The King of the South (v40) – The King of the South, often seen as Egypt but may include other countries as well, will be the aggressor and attack the Antichrist.  Look for Egypt and possibly its neighbors to be an aggressor against the antichrist beast kingdom.  The antichrist will overwhelm and defeat the King of the South coalition.  It is possible that the antichrist will provoke these nations in some way so that they will attack, specifically so he can appear to deliver Israel from her enemies.  He would do this because this is what Judaism is expecting the Messiah to do.
  2. The King of the North (v40) – The King of the North, unknown identity – but possibly a coalition of northern Arab countries, will also be an aggressor and attack the Antichrist.  The King of the South and the King of the North may or may not coordinate their attacks.  The antichrist will overwhelm and defeat the King of the North coalition.  It is possible that the antichrist will provoke these nations in some way so that they will attack, specifically so he can appear to deliver Israel from her enemies.  Again, this would be part of the messianic expectation of Judaism.
  3. Many Countries Shall be Overthrown (v41) – The antichrist will enter Israel (the Glorious Land) and overthrow many countries along the way.  He seems to be the aggressor in this case.  It is highly likely that the antichrist is NOT attacking Israel, but appearing to defend her.  Notably, several countries escape his clutches – Edom, Moah, and Ammon (modern day Jordan).  This is interesting because many scholars see Petra, in Jordan, as the place where the elect remnant of Israel will flee to and be protected from the antichrist after he declares to be “god”.
  4. Egypt Shall Not Escape (v42) – The “countries” mention here is very general  and indicates that the antichrist will have further military victories.  Egypt is singled out as a nation that will NOT escape his grasp (unlike Jordan).
  5. Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia (v43) – It appears that the antichrist will control the wealth of these three nations, among others.  Libya and Ethiopia have been Egypt’s southern allies in the past (Ezekiel 30:5, Nahum 3:9).
  6. Troubling News from the East and the North (v44) – This is vague, but likely refers to eastern and northern nations that have not been involved in conflict with the antichrist yet.  We are not told what the “news” is, only that it “troubles” the antichrist.  It’s possible that these threats include Muslim groups who likely hate the antichrist (who is quite possibly fighting against them, for Israel).
  7. The Antichrist Plants His Palace – Then Dies (v45) – Chris White states that this seems to be a reference to Jerusalem, because the holy mountain is Mount Zion and the seas refer to the Mediterranean sea.  This verse forecasts the antichrist’s death, right after he has established his rule in Jerusalem.  The antichrist will be killed by a “mortal wound”, likely to his head (Revelation 13:3, 12, 14).
  8. The Antichrist is Raised from the Dead – Revelation 13:3-4 “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (ESV)

We have now arrived at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week – halfway through the “Tribulation”.  The Antichrist is about to proclaim himself to be “god”.

 The Lion-Bear-Leopard-Beast Kingdom

I want you to note that if you take the beasts in Daniel 7 – a lion with wings, a bear, a four-headed leopard, and a ten-horned beast – and combine them all together, you get a seven-headed, ten-horned beast with lion, bear, and leopard characteristics.  And, this just happens to be exactly what we see when the antichrist declares himeslf to be “god”:

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.  And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth.  (Revelation 13:1-2 ESV)

The antichrist’s power will come from satan:

And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.  One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.  And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Rev 13:2-4 ESV) 

It seems that the world will marvel after and follow the beast because of his apparent resurrection from the dead as well as his miltary prowess.  The antichrist’s 1260 days of rule (the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, or the last half of the covenant with many) is described further in Revelation 13:

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.  Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword,    with the sword must he be slain.Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.  (Revelation 13:5-10 ESV)

The antichrist’s rule will now be worldwide.  This is so critical that it is mentioned in other passages as well:

 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land.  It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them.  It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown.  And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper.” (Daniel 8:9-12 ESV)

This passage in Daniel 8 details a new vision.  The vision contains elements in the near future as well as the far future.  Verse 9 begins to transition into a description of the antichrist.  Often in prophetic passages there is a transitional period between the near and far fulfillments that could apply possibly to both.  We see this in Daniel 8.  The reference of the little horn throwing some of the stars, or host of heaven, to the ground with it is seen in Revelation 12:

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  (Revelation 12:3-4, 9 ESV)

The angel interprets the vision for Daniel and describes the antichrist in this way:

 …a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise.  His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.  (Daniel 8:23-25)

The antichrist will try to change the “times and seasons”, but his end is decreed.  He will rule for no more than 1260 days.  The time count starts when he declares himself to be god in the temple in Jerusalem.

The Time of Greatest Trouble

Daniel 7:21-25 and 12:1 describe the turning point where the Antichrist’s Kingdom has now taken over the entire world.  He will declare himself to be “god” at this point, which begins the time of “greatest tribulation” for followers of Jesus Christ:

“As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them,  until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.  “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.  As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,  and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”  (Daniel 7:21-25 ESV)

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.”  (Daniel 12:1 ESV)

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.  And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.   (Matthew 24:15-16, 21-22 ESV)

Protection for the Elect Remnant of Israel

We have spent much time on the antichrist and his rise to power, but we also need to discuss God’s remarkable escape plan for the elect remnant of Israel which He has called unto Himself.  Right after the antichrist’s mortal wound and “miraculous” resurrection (at which point he is likely possessed by satan), he will seat himself in the Jewish Temple and proclaim himself to be “god”.  He will cause all sacrifices to cease.  This is the trigger for those in Israel to flee to the wilderness/mountains:

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.  And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.   (Matthew 24:15-16, 21-22 ESV)

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.  But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.  The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.  But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.  (Revelation 12:13-16 ESV)

 …and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.  (Revelation 12:6 ESV)

Those who obediently flee to the place prepared for them will be sheltered under the wings of God Almighty.  This will likely be done through the leading and the protection of the archangel Michael:

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. (Exodus 23:20 ESV)

At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.  (Daniel 12:1 ESV)

Michael is the angel assigned to protect Israel (Jude 1:9).  It appears that Michael will stand for the obedient elect Israel who flee to the wilderness.  He will stand guard over them for the 1260 days of the antichrist’s rule – this is why Edom (Jordan) escapes out of the antichrist’s hand.  This leading to, and protection in, the wilderness is a similar parallel to the first exodus.  Perhaps God will even supply His people with manna once again 🙂  

After the time of trouble, God’s people shall be delivered.  After 1260 days of Beast-Rule, the Beast Kingdom is destroyed – but not by human hands.

The Destruction of the Beast Kingdom

The antichrist is granted 1260 days of authority by God.  After this, his reign will come to an end at the appointed time  – at the second coming of Jesus Christ.  The antichrist will be judged in the court of the Ancient of Days, will be found guilty, and will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.  Daniel sees a vision of this:

“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames;  its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.  As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion  and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”  Daniel 7:9-14 ESV

But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’  Daniel 7:26-27 ESV

John also saw a vision of this:

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.  Revelation 19:20 ESV

Both Daniel’s and John’s visions confirm that this judgment of the Beast occurs at the end of his rule, right before the Millennial Kingdom begins.  Jesus will come and destroy the antichrist and his false prophet, and chain satan and his fallen horde for 1000 years in the abyss.  After the Antichrist is destroyed at Armageddon, living humans will survive and continue into the Millennial Kingdom after the Sheep and Goats judgment. This is what is meant by the rest of the beasts (the lion, bear, and leopard) have their dominion taken away but their lives are prolonged for a time – some of these nations are specifically identified in the Bible as existing during the Millennial Kingdom.  One example of this is Egypt (Zechariah 14:16-19).

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

The ultimate endpoint is that Jesus will overthrow all the kingdoms of the world and set up His kingdom that can never be shaken:

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest  and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire.  

Hebrews 12:18-29 ESV


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Who is the Antichrist and What Does He Do?

Who is the False Prophet and What Does He Do?

Daniel 7 – A Blueprint for Identifying the Antichrist (Chris White) – YouTube

Daniel:  A Commentary (Chris White)

Daniel 7 (PDF) (Chris White)

The Two Messiahs – Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David

The Daniel Story (Jack Kelley)

Grace Thru Faith – End Times According to Daniel

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

Nation Rising Against Nation, Kingdom Against Kingdom – WW3

One of the first true “Birth Pains” that will indicate that the “time of the end” has finally arrived is Nation Rising Against Nation, and Kingdom Rising Against Kingdom.  This is described by Jesus in His “Olivet Discourse”.  Jesus’ apostles had asked Him when His coming and the time of the end would be.  We will examine all the gospel accounts:

Matthew 24Luke 21Luke 17Mark 13 (ESV)

To answer their questions, Jesus first describes the Church Age in one broad sweep:

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. [“See that you are not led astray” v8] [“See that no one leads you astray” v5] For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ [“the time is at hand” v8]and will deceive many. {23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them.} [Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. v6-7] And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

The Church Age will be marked by false messiahs, false doctrine, wars and rumors of wars.  Some of these wars have been truly dreadful (particularly WW1 and WW2). However, the end is not yet.  How we mark the “not yet” to “has come” is through a specific collection of signs, which will indicate:

  • the imminence of Jesus’ coming
  • that all these things are about to be accomplished (including Jesus setting up His earthly Messianic kingdom – the one the disciples were still asking about at His ascension, and all the things the Jews expected the Messiah to fulfill)
  • the ending of the current age (the age of grace/church age)

Jesus begins to describe the collection of signs marking when “all these things are about to be accomplished”:

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  [For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.V8] 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

These are markers of the end arriving, described as the beginning of the birth pains.  When the end DOES arrive, it will be marked all at once by the arrival of:

  • widespread significant wars (Seal 2, possibly Ezekiel 38-39, possibly Isaiah 17 & Psalm 83, possibly world war)
  • earthquakes (Seal 6)
  • famines and pestilences (Seal 3-4)
  • terrors and great signs from heaven (Seal 6, Revelation 12).  The only other place a “great sign in heaven” is mentioned is in Revelation 12:1-2, which is an interesting connection.  This sign occurred on September 23, 2017, see HERE.

There is a tendency for people to read current events into these signs individually, which I believe is an improper practice – “crying wolf”, if you will.  While we arguably do have increasing frequency of earthquakes and pestilences, and possibly war and famine, these are nondescript.  When the signs truly come, it will be all at once – like a flood, and there will be no escape.   “All these” groups the birth pains together as they act collectively.  Think of what we are seeing in the last few decades as “Braxton Hicks contractions” – warmups for the real thing.

Examining Nation Upon Nation Further

But we are talking about wars here, so let’s examine this nation upon nation and kingdom upon kingdom a little further.  These phrases (“nation rising against nation”, and “kingdom against kingdom”) were a Hebrew idiom meaning war involving the entire area.  Other Hebrew examples include:

I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. (Isaiah 19:2, ESV)

And the sons of Noah began to fight with each other, to take captive and to slay each one his brother, and to spill the blood of men over the earth, and to eat blood, and to build strong cities, and walls, and towers, and single men elevated themselves above the people, and first founded kingdoms, and to make war, a nation against a nation, and nations against nations, and city against city, and all things became worse, and they acquired for themselves arms, and taught their sons war, and began to take captive the cities and to sell male and female slaves. (Jubilees 11:2 Schodde)

So will be their kingdom, they will rule several years over the earth and crush everything, a people will crush another people and nation will crush nation. Until the people of God arises and makes everyone rest from warfare. (4Q246 An Aramaic Apocalypse, Kim)

If you shall see kingdoms rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of Messiah. (Bershit Rabbah XLII:4)

I find the last statement from the Bershit Rabbah particularly telling in light that we are also told:

28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The beginning of birth pains – including “world war 3” if you will – is the sign of the imminent rapture of the true church.  This is the escape route for those who are worthy (Luke 21:36); the overcomers (Revelation chpt 2&3)!  Jesus is surely near, at the very gates!!!

Are You Sure It Didn’t Start with WW1 or WW2?

World Wars 1 & 2 were horrible, particularly for the Jews.  How do we know they did not meet this “nation rising against nation” prophecy?  First of all, they were not accompanied by earthquakes, pestilences, terrors and great signs from heaven.  Famine and economic depression did occur after them, as common aftereffects of war.  But to qualify for the “Birth Pain Sign”, all the conditions must be met.

Secondly, WW1 and WW2 occurred BEFORE the “fig tree sign“.  When Jesus lists a specific generation that will not pass away before “all these things” occur, the first sign that can be placed on the timeline is the fig tree leafing out.  That announces that spring has arrived – you are now “in the season”.  I have detailed HERE why Israel’s rebirth in May 1948 fulfills the “fig tree sign”.

World Wars 1&2 certainly played a role in arranging the world’s democracy and populations to prepare for end times events (think the United Nations and Jewish Aliyah).  However, the nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom is yet to come.  Given the threats being uttered of late… you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.


Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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The Last Battle (EVER!)

In the near future, Bible prophecies will start to be fulfilled in rapid succession.  I have detailed these elsewhere, but this includes the rapture of the church, wars against Israel, supernatural deceptions, and judgments from God.  This time of upheaval and greatest tribulation will be ended by the return of Jesus Christ in bodily form on earth (the Second Coming).  He will then institute His Kingdom rule for a period of 1000 years, known as the Millennial Kingdom.  During the Millennial Kingdom, satan and his demons will be chained in the Abyss (hell).  Temptation of humanity by fallen evil spirits will temporarily be a thing of the past.  

“I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.  (Daniel 7:11-12 ESV)

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.  And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,  and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while…   (Revelation 20:1-3 ESV)

In addition, the curse from the fall of Adam and Eve will be reversed.  Long life will be reinstated, animals will be tame, health will be restored, and the world will be peaceful.  It will be very similar to living in the garden of Eden, except that humanity’s sin nature will remain.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?  All who enter the Millennial Kingdom will be “Christians”.  God will dwell among His people in a restored Temple in Jerusalem.  What could go wrong?

Well, Jesus and His resurrected saints will rule “with an iron rod”.  That doesn’t mean He will beat people, but He will have strict laws and require obedience.  Remember the Old Testament laws given when Israel was a Theocracy (nation run by God)?  I imagine many of the rules will be similar.  Now, with no fallen angels to tempt humanity, you would think it wouldn’t be that hard to follow God’s rules when He’s RIGHT THERE.  After all, the rules are fair and just.

Unfortunately, the Bible predicts another response.  While many will follow God in obedience, many will harbor resentment in their hearts.  Despite the reversal of the curse, humanity’s sin nature will still be intact.  All these years humans have been placing blame:  the serpent made me do it…Eve made me do it…the devil made me do it…unbelievers around me made me do it… God is about to show humanity that even without external temptation, our fallen nature is rebellious against Him.  I made me do it.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.  And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  Revelation 20:7-10 ESV

In a short period of time at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, satan will raise up an army against God EVEN WHILE HE LIVES AMONG THEM. As astonishing as this is, it will unfortunately come to pass exactly as God foreknows.  Many humans will collect in rebellion – their number like the sand of the sea (a vast number) – and surround Jerusalem.

Note the mention of Gog and Magog here, who are the spiritual entities behind certain geographical regions.  For many reasons, this last battle is not the same as the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog/Magog).

Once again, humanity proves no match against the Living God, and fire will come down from heaven and consume them immediately.  There is no “battle”.  At this point, satan is finally thrown in the eternal lake of fire.

The Great White Throne judgement will then commence.  All of mankind (unbelievers from the dawn of time, plus believers from the Millennial Kingdom) will face the Living God and give an account of their lives.  Those whose names are found in the Book of Life will live with God eternally; those whose names are not in the Book of Life will be cast in the eternal lake of fire.

Once judgment is complete, God fashions a new heaven and a new earth.  This present age will be truly over, and all believers will enter eternity with God:

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4 ESV

Image result for God placed eternity in our hearts

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

 

The Destruction of Damascus – Isaiah 17

Israel is the central focus of Bible Prophecy.  God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give their descendants a specific land region in the Middle East.  There are a few prophetic events set to occur which will usher in the completion of this covenant!  One of these is the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.  Note the bolded verses for further discussion:

The Destruction of Damascus – Isaiah 17 (ESV)

A prophecy against Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
    but will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer will be deserted
    and left to flocks, which will lie down,
    with no one to make them afraid.
 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
    and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
    like the glory of the Israelites,”
declares the Lord Almighty.

 “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
    the fat of his body will waste away.
 It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
    gathering the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain
    in the Valley of Rephaim.
 Yet some gleanings will remain,
    as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
    four or five on the fruitful boughs,”
declares the Lord, the God of Israel.

 In that day people will look to their Maker
    and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
 They will not look to the altars,
    the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles
    and the incense altars their fingers have made.

 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

You have forgotten God your Savior;
    you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
    and plant imported vines,
 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
    and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
yet the harvest will be as nothing
    in the day of disease and incurable pain.

Woe to the many nations that rage—
    they rage like the raging sea!
Woe to the peoples who roar—
    they roar like the roaring of great waters!
 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,
    when he rebukes them they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,
    like tumbleweed before a gale.
 In the evening, sudden terror!
    Before the morning, they are gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
    the lot of those who plunder us.

 Concerning Damascus:

“Hamath and Arpad are confounded, for they have heard bad news; they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet. Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee, and panic seized her; anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her, as of a woman in labor.  How is the famous city not forsaken, the city of my joy?  Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares,and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day, declares the Lord of hosts.  And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.”

(Jeremiah 49:23-27 ESV)

Prerequisites of This War:

None given.

Purpose of This War:

God’s specific intervention is not mentioned here, other than it seems “He rebukes” the peoples and nations that are raging against Israel.  His intent seems to be so that “people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel”.  He is addressing Israel, who has “forgotten God [their] Savior”.  

Who Are the Players?

  • Damascus, Syria
  • Cities of Aroer – modern Jordan
  • Fortified City in Ephraim – modern West Bank (ancient city of Samaria, capital of northern Kingdom of Israel)
  • Remnant of Aram – Syria
  • Israel
  • “many nations” and “peoples” – this is enigmatic

It will be interesting to see if this “many nations” and “peoples” is the same as “all his hordes – many peoples are with you” mentioned in Ezekiel 38:6 and the many nations  described in Psalm 83.

Timing of This War:

This war is yet future.  It has to occur when Israel is established as a nation but before her repentance and spiritual restoration.  They are in a state of having “forgotten God [their] Savior”, their “Rock” and their “fortress”.  There is no mention of the Temple in this prophecy, or even of Jerusalem at all.  It would seem that the third Temple is yet future when this war erupts.  It also must be before or in the days starting the Day of the Lord (as that is when Israel’s partial blindness is removed – Rom 11:25, and thus they would no longer be forgetting God, their rock and their fortress).

Isaiah 17 seems to share Jordan, West Bank, and Syria as conspirators with Psalm 83.   It seems Isaiah 17 could be the spark which lights the fuse of Psalm 83, which in turn paves the way for an all-out explosion of Ezekiel 38-39.  There is some suggestion that Psalm 83 may have been fulfilled in the 6-day war of 1967; if this is the case, Isaiah 17 could be connected with Ezekiel 38-39 in some way.

The language bolded in the passages above is very descriptive of the Day of the Lord.  The Day of the Lord begins at some point when God rises up in wrath to protect Israel from imminent destruction.  I personally suspect that the destruction of Damascus will occur either simultaneously with other wars against Israel or within days/weeks of other wars with Islamic nations.  I believe these wars will be connected with the start of the Day of the Lord, from the references to the woman in labor (which is “the time of Jacob’s trouble”) and “that Day”.

Summary of This War:

The prophecy in Isaiah 17 points to the complete destruction of Damascus, Syria, never to be restored again. This is noteworthy because presently the city is recognized as the world’s longest constantly inhabited city.  Other cities (not defined) are affected as well, and will be abandoned and desolated.  The only modern example for a city to be abandoned completely is in the Chernobyl nuclear accident, so nuclear warfare might be involved here.  In Jeremiah 49, it states that God kindles a fire in the wall of Damascus to make it fall, and that may be connected to this prophecy.

Isaiah refers to “that day” three times in this chapter.  “That Day” is generally used in scripture to specifically refer to the “Day of the Lord”.  Here, “that day” connects the destruction of Damascus with the “day” when the “glory of Jacob fades” and only “gleanings” remain.  This is consistent with the Day of the Lord, or the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, where 2/3 of the Israelites will perish and 1/3 will be brought through the fires of testing (Zechariah 13:8-9).  The Day of the Lord is not a single day, but a timespan of up to 7 years.  This does not suggest the battle lasts for 7 years, but that the effects of it might – especially when coupled with all the other events of the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

The “many nations” and “peoples” who are attempting to plunder Israel are “driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale” in the span of one evening/night.  Interestingly, this same statement is made by Asaph in Psalm 83 – “Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind.” (v13).  It seems that the enemies flee, and are not destroyed.

Note that other end time events are not specifically dependent on this battle/war in any way, but speculation on its’ timing does make it easier to visualize fulfillment of other events such as the Third Temple construction.  Logical placement (through human eyes) would put this very soon on the prophetic timetable, before or in conjunction with the rapture of the church.

There certainly has been a lot of action in Damascus lately and it is one to watch closely.

Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Overview of Coming Prophetic Wars

Nation Rising Against Nation, Kingdom Rising Against Kingdom – WW3

Target Israel: Arab-Israeli Promised Land War of Psalm 83

Target Israel: Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39

Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39

Commentary on the Isaiah 17 prophecy (Jack Kelley) – From 2013, but things in Syria have heated up quite considerably since then.

When God Intervenes (Douglas Berner) – Very detailed discussion, the best I have read.  I recommend this book for multiple reasons!

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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