In Ezekiel 38-39 we have a prophetic scenario in which Russia leads an alliance of Mideast nations (Which are now Islamic) against Israel. Though we have dealt with this topic before, we want to revisit it in the light of recent events.
The Timing of the War
This war takes place very early in the tribulation period. Verse 8 says, “In the latter years,” that is today, verse 16 says, “In the latter days,” that is also today. Verse 8 says, “The land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people,” that is today. Today Israel has been gathered out of the nations of the world.
Verse 8 says, “They dwell safely all of them,” that is not today. Today Israel is not at peace. The fact is, that the only time Israel will experience peace prior to the establishment of the millennial kingdom will be a very brief period after the peace treaty is signed by the Antichrist. This will be at the beginning of the tribulation period. Verse 11 refers to this same time period, “The land of unwalled villages,” that is not today. Much of the world has been clamouring for Israel to take down the security wall that surrounds the present borders of Israel proper. This will very likely be done as the peace treaty is signed, and could be done rather quickly. Verse 14 says, “When my people of Israel dwelleth safely,” that is not now, but will be the case when the false peace treaty is signed at the beginning of the tribulation period.
In chapter 39 verse 9, we have another indication that this war will be very early in the tribulation period, “They shall burn them (the weapons) with fire seven years.” The rifle butts of 25-50 million rifles would keep Israel warm for seven winters and the burning, or smelting, of 25-50 million rifle barrels would make good industry for the industrious Jews. The significance is that they will not be burning them during the millennium; therefore the war must take place early in the tribulation period.
While it seems we are close to the war of Ezekiel 38-39, the time has not yet fully arrived. It will not therefore, take place until after the rapture of the church which must occur prior to the peace treaty. If we see the preparations for this war now underway, we know that the trumpet is soon to sound.
The Alliance and the Leader
The leader of this alliance is Russia as described in Ezekiel 38:2. We do not have the time nor space to deal this verse here. Many others have shown clearly that Gog and Magog refer to Russia.
The nations that are a part of this alliance are named in verses 5 and 6. On an old map of Turkey the names Gomer and Togarmah are inscribed, according to Jimmy DeYoung.
This will be a very large army which could number as high as perhaps 25-50 million men. Verse 4, says “A great company.” Verse 9, says, “And many people with thee.” It also describes this army, “Like a cloud to cover the land.” Verse 15 adds to the size of this army, “Many people with thee....a great company, and a mighty army.” Remember the significance of this when we come to assess the consequences of this war.
Why will Russia come against Israel? God will draw Russia down into Israel to bring judgment upon her. Verse 4, “I...will put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth.” Verse 10, “Thou shalt think an evil thought.” Verse 12, “To take a spoil.” Verse 13, “To take a great spoil.”
For years Bible students wondered about this verse, what would be the hook that God would use to draw Russia down into Israel? I believe, at this very moment in time, we are seeing the hook being set in the jaw of Russia. At the set time Russia will come down into the land to come against Israel and seek to take a spoil.
The Russian gas company, Gazprom, said last month that it wants to invest in the Israeli gas fields. They have expressed a desire to purchase a 50% stake as a partner in exploration off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Russian energy experts calculate that Israel's offshore gas reserves, currently estimated at about 25 trillion cubic feet, are in fact much bigger and maintain they could be better explored with Russian professional assistance. With this in view, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is planning to visit Israel in mid January. Even as I write this article, a news release has reported that Israel has just discovered the largest gas find in the last ten years.
In the light of this situation, Russia has apparently changed its approach to Israel and now professes it wants to be Israel’s friend. Moscow sources report that the Kremlin has watched the Obama administration Israel-Palestinian peace diplomacy run out of steam and sees its chance for a more active role on this diplomatic track. The reality is that America has lost face in the Mideast and is being forced to withdraw from the area. All of the Mideast Arab nations have lost confidence in the US. Russia is seeking to fill the gap that is being left.
Debkafile reports that ahead of Medvedev’s visit, Moscow sent five messages to Jerusalem.
1. For the purchase of military UAVs for the Russian army – for which an agreement will be signed – Moscow will guarantee to withhold advanced weapons, such as the sophisticated S-300 interceptor missile systems, from Iran and Syria. By this move, the Medvedev-Putin administration is drawing a line limiting Russia's vital contribution to their military buildup and upgrade.
2. Moscow shares Israel's view that any hi-tech Russian military hardware sold to Damascus or Tehran would eventually reach Hezbollah. The Russians have no wish to upgrade Hezbollah's arsenal and therefore they have a further incentive for keeping this weaponry out of Iranian and Syrian hands.
3. The Kremlin has recently shifted ground on the Palestinian issue and is no longer willing to automatically endorse Palestinian demands of Israel. Unlike Palestinian negotiators headed by Mahmoud Abbas, Moscow is prepared to look at interim solutions for the Palestinian-Israel dispute. The Russians say the Palestinians are aware of the new winds blowing in Moscow. That is why they did not lobby Russia to support their unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood within pre-1967 were borders, and turned to more amenable governments in Europe, the Far East and South America.
4. The Russians ask Israel to take note of another change in its favour: Hamas's Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal is no longer welcome in Moscow.
5. Moscow is seeking to exploit the deepening strategic ties between Israel and Greece to jump aboard their plans to build an underwater gas pipeline linking Greece to the Israeli Mediterranean port of Ashkelon. This would link up with the existing Ashkelon oil and gas pipeline to Eilat, Israel's Red Sea port.
Russian energy strategists are eyeing the planned and existing segments of this route with great interest, having calculated that the quickest and cheapest outlet for marketing Russian gas to the Far East is through Eilat.
Surprisingly; Israeli leaders, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have high hopes of the Medvedev visit. Is God allowing Israel’s leaders to be deceived by Russia? The hook is being set.
The Purpose of God concerning Russia and Islam
In verse 3, we read, “I am against thee, O Gog, (Russia).” God is against Russia because Russia is against God. Russia is officially an atheistic nation and Russia has persecuted the Jews. God is going to judge Russia for the whole world to see. Russia is going to be an object lesson for the world at the begining of the tribulation.
God is against Islam because Islam is against Israel and has severely persecuted her. Ezekiel 36:2, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession.” This is a perfect description of what the Palestinians are doing at this very moment. They have claimed the Temple Mount and are keeping Israel from even moving their lips in prayer when on the Temple Mount. Ezekiel 36:5, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.” It has been demonstrated that the Idumeans are the Palestinians of the present hour. Today Islam is defying the living God by trying to take away Israel’s land and the temple Mount.
Notice what the response of God will be to this situation, “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 38:18-19)
As the tribulation period begins Russia and Islam will be removed from the end time equation, leaving only a remnant. In Ezekiel 39:1-2 we read about that event, “Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel,” five of every six will die on the battle field.
Not only will Russia and Islam be destroyed on the battle field. But also in their homelands they will suffer the same consequence, “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Today Islam is totally dominating the Mideast situation but that will come to an end. Today Islam is standing in the way of the unfolding of the scriptural last day’s events.
As the tribulation begins the Antichrist and Satan will be given a free hand to do as they will. The Holy Spirits restraining ministry will be terminated. Satan, will be for the first time, totally unrestrained. Destruction, evil, violence, turmoil and unimaginable wickedness will permeate the whole earth.
Even as that terrible scenario unfolds, God will be at work carrying out His program. God will not leave Himself without a witness at that time. “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16) The Lord says that He will be sanctified in the situation that prevails at that time. He will glorify His name in the destruction He brings on Russia and Islam. Verse 18-19, “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.”
In verse 23, we see God`s plan and purpose in His response to Russia and Islam, “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
Let me set the scene; the rapture has taken place. As the tribulation begins there is not living believer on the earth, God is without a witness. God proceeds to give His own witness. He utterly destroys five of every six of this huge and mighty army of Russia and Islam. He destroys them with fire from heaven; the whole world sees the hand of almighty God giving a powerful witness to the whole world. “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16) When this miraculous destruction takes place the whole world will see it and for a moment will be arrested by God.
As the awesome judgment of God is about come upon the whole world, God, in Judgment, remembers mercy. He seeks to call sinners to Himself. This is the defining moment of the tribulation period. I believe that from this point multiplied millions will harden their hearts and perish. I also believe as result of this event, multiplied millions will ultimately repent and turn to Christ.
Understand the scenario after this war; Russia and Islam are neutralized, eliminated as a factor in the rest of the tribulation period. America will also have been neutralized. America’s fate will remove from China her economic life blood, it will possibly take her seven years to recover and play her part at the close of the tribulation period.
The only one left standing after this war will be the European dictator, the Antichrist. He will control all the oil of the Mideast, there will be none to resist him as he deceives the whole into following him.
Everywhere we look today we see the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. The trumpet will surely sound soon. In the light of that, what kind of men and women should we be? What ought we to be doing?