I was slated to speak 3 times at the Prophecy Watchers Conference in Colorado Springs, ongoing now as I post this ‘sermon.’ One of those talks was to be without using a PowerPoint. So to me, it meant I needed to come up with a sermon. And the title I had come up with was A NEW SCENARIO FOR THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG.
The following is what I came up with. I thought I should share it. Anyone at the conference, feel free to share it with others there.
A NEW SCEANRIO FOR THE WAR OF GOG/ MAGOG
THE CRISIS IN UKRAINE: WILL IT LEAD TO GOG/MAGOG?
The crisis of Ukraine with its war with Russia whose atrocities we hear of every day, once again leads to discussion of the War of Ezekiel 38-39, aka the War of Gog/Magog.
IS IT THE START OF SOMETHING BIG?
The big question, is this crisis more than a regional skirmish, or is this war the start of something bigger? Indeed, our question here today is ‘Will this directly lead to the war of Ezekiel 38-39?’ For we who are futurists, we want to know “when does that war take place?”
THE PSALM 83 WAR PUSHES GOG/MAGOG OFF INDEFINITELY
If we hold to a Psalm 83 War, the answer is easy: NO. the alignment of nations causing a war with the IDF is not organized nor ready to attack. And this war hasn’t happened. Psalm 83 advocates argue that Gog/ Magog war happens when Israel lives “carelessly without walls.” But today, there are 417 miles of walls. Israel still must be prepared for war on a moment’s notice. there are those that argue because of Israel’s mighty military, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) they do live in relative peace and security. Of course, the continued assault of rockets from Hezbollah and Hamas seem to upset that point of view.
SHALOM VEH BETACH
Allow me to mention the Hebrew for this phrase: Shalom veh Betach. This phrase is important. Assessing these words in the context of Ezekiel 38-39 may be the clue that unlocks when the Gog/Magog war begins. Shalom is easy – it means peace. Betach is not so easy. It means security, feeling safe, convinced that Yahweh is looking out for you – the LORD ‘has your back.’ We will return to some exegesis around this phrase in a moment.
THE ISLAMIC ANTICHRIST THEORY
But first, returning again to when the Gog/Magog war will happen, of course we must mention the Islamic Antichrist Theory. I call it a theory because it is far from proven despite the fact that many futurists have gotten on that bandwagon. The IAT has been made popular by Joel Richardson. Even the late Chuck Missler felt the idea had legs. But does it?
ONE GUY, ONE WAR, ONE REGION ONLY CONFLICT.
If you adopt the IAT, the Islamic Antichrist Theory, you believe there is one composite evil guy: He is the Mahdi, the Antichrist, and even Gog from the land of Magog. All three personages are all the same in the IAT.
And furthermore, if you adopt the IAT, you believe there is only one mighty war, the final war when Christ returns. The Battle for Jerusalem, the War at Megiddo, the Valley of Decision, the Gog/Magog war – these are all the same war.
So, the answer to the question of when the war of Gog/Magog happens is easy just like advocating the Psalm 83 War. We aren’t on the cusp of the Gog/ Magog. The War happens at the end of the 70th Week. When it comes to Gog/Magog, for those who hold to the Islamic Antichrist Theory, since there is no distinction between Gog, the Mahdi, Antichrist – and since there is no distinction between Armageddon, the Battle for Jerusalem, and the War of Ezekiel 38-39, there is only one answer. The war of Gog/Magog doesn’t happen until all the other prophecies pertaining to the end times have taken place.
And it all takes place in one region. Draw a 1,000 miles radius around Jerusalem. Only those in this circle get involved. The verse that the Antichrist was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. “And authority was given (the Beast) over every tribe and people and language and nation (Revelation 13:7)” The IAT argues against a global ‘beast’ because the Bible is Mediterranean book, and therefore, Bible prophecy are Middle East prophecies. Consequently, it isn’t at all clear that the Mark of the Beast will be enforced across the globe.
IS ROSH A ‘CHIEF’ OR A ‘RUSSIA?’
One last critical point: the IAT does not believe that Russia is in command of the Islamic horde. Instead, the leader comes from inside the Middle East. Ezekiel 38:1-6, is not talking about Russia. Rosh is not Ros or Russia. Rosh is an adjective not a noun. However, scholars are split on this. The New King James translates the verses as follows:
1Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, [a]the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. 5Persia, [b]Ethiopia, and [c]Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.
Scholars like Tommy Ice and Mark Hitchcock, and scores of other well-known evangelicals believe ROSH is an ancient name for Russia. I document as much in my book, MISTAKEN IDENTITY: THE CASE AGAINST THE ISLAMIC ANTICRHIST.
WE NEEDN’T WORRY ABOUT THE WAR IN UKRAINE – REALLY?
So don’t worry about the crisis in Ukraine. Don’t worry about Russia. Instead, perhaps we should worry about Turkey, where the IAT asserts Gog arises, hence the watch party for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The IAT believes the Ottoman Empire is the last great empire that arises, its revival is the miraculous resurrection of the empire of Antichrist, the head wound that was healed.
So, according to the two most popular scenarios for the end of days, sit back, don’t fear the war in Ukraine. Don’t fear the use of nuclear weapons. Don’t trouble yourself with European politics. Never mind the massive arming of the Ukrainians. Don’t sweat a confrontation between NATO and the Vladimir Putin. We are taught that it’s not on deck.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
But if you are a traditional futurist, a conventional dispensationalist, maybe you should worry. Or rather, maybe you should keep your eyes trained on the Sky… keep looking up… and pray that you are worthy to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36) and thereby escape all the things that cause men’s hearts to fail them. (Luke 21:26)
How about the words of Pete Seeger? His great folk song we can surely applaud:
Paul and Silas bound in jail
Had no money for to go their bail
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
Paul and Silas thought they was lost
Dungeon shook and the chains come off
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
Freedom’s name is mighty sweet
And soon we’re gonna meet
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
I got my hand on the gospel plow
Won’t take nothing for my journey now
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
We must keep our eyes on the prize. Indeed, when you learn about what the new nuclear weapons look like and how they function, if you don’t have at least a twinge of fear, you aren’t paying attention. Keep your eyes on the prize. But let’s talk about what we are facing from the Russians:
THE RUSSIAN THREAT AND HOW THEY THREATEN THE USA
Many of you know, over the past seven years, I’ve written several books dealing with the Russian threat. The main book is, “Is Russia Destined to Nuke the USA?” I argue Putin gave up trying to compete with the US in the game of conventional weapon technology. He knew he couldn’t outspend the US. We spend almost 10 times the amount he can afford to spend on ‘defense.’ Indeed, even his mighty new Armada Tank continues to be delayed because of lack of funds. So, what did Putin do? He went strategic. First, he “doubled down” on stirring up trouble in the US – which we’ve all seen in spades. Racial hatred hasn’t been this intense since the summer of 1968.
Secondly, when it comes to weapons, Putin went all in on nuclear. His defensive weapons outnumber us by several thousand. He has continued to enhance his S-400 anti-missile defense system, manufacturing and deploying the newest version, the S-500. It can defeat multiple incoming missiles as well as enemy aircraft, even using a nuclear explosion in outer space to disable or destroy enemy missiles.
Regarding offensive weapons, Putin also had to ensure that the SARMAT 2 gets into service. NATO calls this weapon, the SARMAT 2, SATAN 2. And for good reason.
WHAT ABOUT THE SARMAT 2 MISSILE? IT IS A SCARY WEAPON.
The SARMAT 2 is almost 120 feet long (35 meters). It is silo-based since it is a blockbuster in size and weight. And its size betrays its capabilities which are truly astounding.
It can hold 10 MIRVs (Multiple Independently Targetable Vehicles). Each can deliver 750 Kilotons of explosive impact, 50 times more powerful that the Hiroshima bomb. The entire payload of one missile possesses 500 times the effect of the bomb that hit Nagasaki. Additionally, at the same time, it can deploy 40 ‘decoy missiles’ to make it very difficult for any antimissile defense system to penetrate. The rocket carrying this payload has a range of 18,000 kilometers or 11,000 miles. Supposedly the rocket can strike America from either the North or South Pole just to make a surprise attack even more frightening. Remember that Russia has 6,000 nuclear weapons compared to 5,500 for the US. The talks on nuclear weapon treaties aren’t high on anyone’s agenda. It should also be noted that while the US has a sound defense through its THAD and other naval defensive systems, its Minute Man 3 remains a rare creature (only 40 or so), deployed over three sites in America’s western states. None of our defensive missile systems can react to the ‘launch phase’ of the Russian ballistic missiles when such missiles are most vulnerable. And our ability to detect the real McCoy in the midst of so many decoy warheads launched from the SARMAT 2, is far less than perfect.
And that isn’t the end of it either. The SARMAT 2 can also deploy a few or many hypersonic missiles, which is a glide missile that travels over 5 times the speed of sound. That’s 4,000 MPH. Hypersonic missiles are meant for one purpose – destroying aircraft carriers. Just as aircraft carriers made battleships obsolete in WWII, the hypersonic missile may make aircraft carriers obsolete in the next war against China or Russia.
CAN OUR MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS PROTECT US?
Does the US Navy really have an answer to the Hypersonic missile? Can it really defeat the hypersonic missile? At risk are 2,500 who tend to the aircraft on a carrier and 3,000 who man the ship and operate it. One hypersonic missile hit and 5,500 people are potentially killed in a single blow. All these capabilities combined amount to a missile that Putin calls ‘invincible.’ He might just be right.
Never mind Putin’s nuclear torpedo that he talks about which if exploded off the coast of an enemy can create a tidal wave 1,000 feet high. Is this weapon just propaganda or is it a real threat? We will only know when Putin uses it against his enemies.
Remember: Putin couldn’t afford to compete on conventional weapon systems, especially his navy, so he went strategic and built the best nuclear technology for offense and defense in the world. It is ready to be employed at any time.
WHAT ABOUT TACTICAL NUKES?
Lastly, a quick word on tactical nukes. Putin threatens to use them in Ukraine. He may do this for several reasons. One, to threaten the world that he is willing to go nuclear. Two, to scare Ukraine into an immediate unconditional surrender. Three, he can’t compete against Western anti-tank weapons, which has been proven in Ukraine. But what is especially frightening about tactical nukes: Russia possesses 2,000 of them deployed across Europe. The West has only 200 such weapons, 10% of what Russia claims it has on hand. It is highly likely that a use of a tactical nuke will light the fuse of World War III.
So, now that I’ve frightened you, allow me to point out that I still hold to the Pre-Trib Rapture and believe it’s most likely to occur before Russia and/or China puts a multitude of nuclear weapons in motion. However, there are no guarantees. We must we ready for that possibility. Now, I am not a survivalist for I believe if such a severe test would occur, we will not be tempted beyond what we are able to deal with, for “God makes a way of escape that we may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
BACK TO THE QUESTION, “WHEN MIGHT GOG/MAGOG OCCUR?”
I’ve warned that the scenario many futurist scholars support, is that something happens 3.5 years before Daniel’s 70th week, that brings all of Revelations’ prophecies into immediate focus. This idea was put forward initially by Arnold Fruchtenbaum, but has been supported by Chuck Missler, Grant Jeffrey, Randall Price, Chuck Smith, and several other notable teachers. And that something is the war of Gog/Magog.
Indeed, I do not subscribe to either the Psalm 83 War Theory or the Islamic Antichrist Theory in which Gog/ Magog is deferred for an indefinite time. Instead, I believe there is nothing that stands between us and the first stage of this war. The Pre-Trib Rapture is an imminent event. It could happen at any time. The ‘next great war in the Middle East’ (the name of my book on this subject), is also imminent. Nothing must happen before a nuclear attack occurs against our country.
THE FINAL BABYLON: THE BOOK THAT MADE MY VIEW PUBLIC
This view I spoke about for the first time in 2013 when my co-authors and I released the book, The Final Babylon. There we argued that the United States is most certainly in Bible proph
ecy. The prophecies concerning the daughter of Babylon, spoken of primarily in Jeremiah 50-51, can be fulfilled by no other country or empire than the USA or what is often called the “Anglo-American” alliance – the US and the UK. There isn’t enough time in this short talk to cover all of this information. I am speaking on this topic later in this conference, in my talk “Will Babylon Be Rebuilt in the Last Days?” Also entitled, “The Identity of Babylon. However, I will just point out a few of the key phrases Jeremiah uses to describe us. The daughter of Babylon is ‘the hammer of the whole earth’. (Jeremiah 50:23) We are ‘the hinder-most of nations.’ (Jeremiah 50:12) ‘All the world streams unto us.’ (Jeremiah 51:44) We are ‘a nation on many waters.’ (Jeremiah 51:13) God’s people are told to ‘flee Babylon.’(Jeremiah 50:8, 28; 51:6, 51:45) We were once ‘a golden cup in the Lord’s hands.’ (Jeremiah 51:7) What other nation except for Israel could make this claim? And that is only the beginning of the assertions that identify the US in Bible Prophecy.
WHO ARE THE MERCHANTS OF TARSHISH, THE YOUNG LIONS, AND SHEBA AND DEDAN?
If true, what then does this mean for the war of Gog/ Magog? I argue that the puzzling statement (regarding the Merchants of Tarshish, the Young Lions, and Sheba and Dedan) is an enormous clue.
Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’ (Ezekiel 38:13)
And unlike what Hal Lindsey and others have said describing these three peoples and their ‘wonderment’ about what Gog is doing, this puzzlement isn’t because they view the attack on Israel from a distance and do nothing, wondering what Gog is up to. Rather, the issue is why THEY are being attacked. I have identified in many places that the Merchants of Tarshish are Spain and England. The Young Lions are their colonies in the New World, while Sheba and Dedan are easy to identify as Saudi Arabia.
WHY THE USE OF BETACH IN EZEKIEL 38:11 INFERS THE USA
I promised earlier to speak more on the phrase Shalom veh Betach, specifically the Bible’s meaning behind betach in the context of Ezekiel 38:8. We read: “After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the word and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.” The word is betach. It is used 42 times in the KJV Old Testament. Five times it means ‘careless’ or ‘carelessly.’ But 37 times is means ‘safely, safety, confidently.’ These assertions always seem to reference only Israel. When the word appears to mean “carelessly” – it only refers to Gentiles who do not know God or who oppose God. However, let’s look at the context of Ezekiel 38:11 where this word is used again, and the standard view is that this also refers to Israel: “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.” Is the word betach to be translated securely or carelessly? Israel is not a land of unwalled villages. They are not a nation at rest. They only partially dwell with some security – they do not have absolute security.
THE LAND OF UNWALLED VILLAGES
But the land of unwalled villages is dwelling at rest, no walls, no bars or gates. This phrasing usually refers to gentiles, not Israel. If betach is rightly translated carelessly in Ezekiel 38:11, the land of unwalled villages dwelling carelessly, could easily be the United States. The arising of the ‘evil thought’ (38:10) comes after the mention of the planned attack on Israel in 38:9. Is the evil thought a separate action from the plan to cover the land of Israel? I believe it is.
One could certainly object that the context only deals with Israel, and it flows chronologically from verse 38:8. But we need to remember that adumbrative (prophetic) passages do not necessarily flow chronologically. And they can shift subjects and the time in which the prediction takes place. Recall Jesus’ reading in the synagogue. He reads the messianic passage speaking of the works of the Messiah. But he stops when he comes to the assertion about how the Messiah will judge the nations. The gap between those verse is now almost 2,000 years. The subjects are both Messiah phase one and Messiah phase two.
THE DAUGHTER OF BABYLON – WILL IT BE DESTROYED?
In short, while Gog plans to invade Israel, Gog also devises an evil plan to attack those that dwell without walls and who carelessly believe they are immune to attack. In the opening phase of the War of Gog/ Magog, I am afraid that Gog launches a strategic attack on several America cities, possibly the City of London, and the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, eliminating Sunni control of Mecca and giving over the Muslim shrine to the Shia who align with Gog. This attack is to neutralize the forces of America, confuse its people, and keep it out of the fray in Israel. However, it might mean much more than just ‘confusing’ the US.
Indeed, when this attack takes place, it stuns the world. As Jeremiah conveys in 25 of the 46 verses within Jeremiah chapter 50, the daughter of Babylon is destroyed. Obviously, these chapters’ have two key matters: (1) Who is the daughter of Babylon? (2) And how certain it is that she will be destroyed? The answers to me are (1) the USA, and (2) very certain.
Now is this destruction total? I don’t believe it is but is easily enough to give America a knock-out punch. This nation “shall become a wilderness, a dry land and a desert.” (NKJV) Furthermore, Jeremiah says that the mother of the daughter of Babylon ‘is confounded.’ “Your mother will be greatly ashamed; she who gave you will be disgraced.” (Jeremiah 50:12). Is the mother of the daughter of Babylon not England? And what might this mean? “The mother who bore you shall be greatly ashamed.” The mother must outlive the daughter to express this humiliation. Perhaps she is ashamed because the mighty hammer of the whole earth has been quickly undone. All her investments in America have been lost.
GOG IS NOW FREE TO ACT
Nonetheless, with America neutralized, Gog moves freely against Israel seeking to corner the market for energy exported to Europe. Now, Turkey and Iran, former rivals, combine forces with fanatic Muslims from Sudan, and other enclaves from North Africa. A jihad is then ordered. Since the ‘Great Satan’ has lost his teeth, it’s now time to eliminate the ‘Little Satan.’ The armies of Gog complete their organization on the mountains of Israel, what we call ‘the Golan Heights’ (the disputed land between Israel and Syria). But as they prepare to invade, the LORD GOD acts. He destroys the armies opposing Israel supernaturally. And Israel and the world see that God has ‘broken his silence’ as author Douglas Berner says in his outstanding book with that title. Yahweh has destroyed the armies of Gog from Magog. We read:
“And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord God, “that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great [e]earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus, I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”’
Might this destruction not be on Mount Hermon, the original place where an army gathered to begin its plan to destroy God’s plan of salvation for humanity? If so, this is the second time that the Son of God reconquers the mountain of rebellion and transforms it into the ‘holy mountain’ made holy by Jesus’ transfiguration. (2 Peter 1:8)
NOW THE TEMPLE CAN BE REBUILT ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT
Additionally, this incredible and unexpected outcome of the Gog/ Magog War opens the way for the third Temple’s construction on the Temple Mount. Opposition to Israel’s safety becomes guaranteed by a charismatic leader stepping in after the two world powers of the USA and Russia are destroyed along with the armies of Iran, Turkey, and the Sudan.
THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE, THE GREAT TRIBULATION IS NEXT
Therefore, this leader, who we know as Antichrist, confirms the covenants made, the Oslo Accords (1993 and 1995) and the Abraham Accords (2020). Furthermore, he assures Israel that he will defend them should they encounter any further threat. In accepting this means of security, Israel makes a covenant with death and hell. (Isaiah 28:15) They have witnessed the action of God on their behalf, the nation of Israel recognizes that Yahweh is alive and is their true God. They flood back to their land in belief. But they still do not know the name of their Messiah. So, a greater tribulation awaits:
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, ‘It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.’ (Zechariah 13:8, 9)
This is the Great Tribulation in which two-thirds of the nation will be killed or taken into captivity. Those that are saved escape to Petra in Jordan where they are supernaturally protected by Yahweh, and His Son Yeshua. (Revelation 12:6) She will dwell there for 1,260 days (3.5 years).
WHAT PART DOES THE CHURCH PLAY IN THE TRIBULATION?
But where is the Church during this time? Is it still on earth during the Great Tribulation or has it been airlifted to heaven? That is the great debate today. Is the rapture real? I say, ‘Yes.’ It remains the promise of ‘Our Blessed Hope.’ (Titus 2:13-14)
Author and Pastor, the Late Ray Stedman held an extraordinary viewpoint. He taught that the Church, after it is redeemed and glorified in the Rapture, returns to earth to participate as evangelists during the tribulation. I discuss this with my co-author Gary Huffman in our book, The Revealing. You might find it intriguing. It is a study of what happens to believers just AFTER the Rapture.
IS ‘THE BLESSED HOPE,’ YOUR HOPE?
As we conclude, I wonder how many of you believe in the promise of that Blessed Hope? (Titus 2:13-14) And how many are planning to remain on earth during the Tribulation?
In concluding, as a pre-Trib believer, I don’t not plan to be here for the revealing of Antichrist, the building of the Third Temple, and the persecution and martyrdom of millions of believers in Christ. I will miss the ministry of the two witnesses. However, I may be here to witness the beginning of the War of Gog/ Magog. And it could well be on our doorstep if my scenario is correct, that Russia and other nations of the north attack us at the outset of this war. We shall see.
Regardless of whether or not this war happens as I have speculated, I will be with most of you in this audience after our LORD translates us into our glorified bodies and reveals us to the angels and the powers and principalities that oppose us as victors over them. Soon, we shall enjoy the presence of our Lord and being with our families.
THE FINAL WARNING
Nevertheless, I do leave you with a final warning. Just as David Wilkerson, Dimitri Duduman, and many others who prophesied about the coming destruction of America, we may be on the cusp of stage one of the War of Ezekiel 38. Therefore, we could meet our maker in one of two ways – via Rapture or Resurrection. Every day could be our last on earth. Therefore, we must make the most of our time, for the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16) So, regardless, be sure you have oil in your lamp, that is, the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. And make your calling more certain (2 Peter 1:10), proving that you are one of His elect and are ready to meet Him in the air should He return for us today.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
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